Bloody Earth Films // 2013 // 87 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Gordon Sullivan // April 2nd, 2014
Nobody dumps on the Bronx
Bloodmarsh Krackoon sounds like a dungeon in a fantasy RPG like World of Warcraft or Skyrim, the kind of place you expect to be haunted by orcs and goblins and ghouls. But no, this is a throwback creature-feature set in the Bronx, reminding viewers of all those weird monster movies and fears about radiation leaks during the Cold War. It's got everything you'd expect from a low-budget monster movie in the digital era -- bad acting, cheap effects, and a goofy plot -- but nothing (aside from the title) really distinguishes Bloodmarsh Krackoon.
The setting is the Bronx neighborhood of Locust Point, into which a couple of ne'er-do-wells drop a vat of radioactive waste. As always with these things, the waste leaks. Meanwhile, there are tales of a crack-addicted raccoon terrorizing the local population, and Deputy Mayor Peter Rabbit (Sal Amore) wants to hunt this monster down to build up his political profile. What he doesn't realize is that there's more than one Krackoon lurking in his neighborhood.
Two things distinguish Bloodmarsh Krackoon. The first is its admittedly gonzo premise. Director Jerry Landi claims that when his neighborhood of Locust Point was being developed animals came out in droves. One night he heard screaming, and it turned out to be a vicious fight between two raccoons. He says it looked like two junkies fighting, and that's how Krackoon was born -- combining drug addicts and wildlife. It's a pretty goofy premise, but one that immediately puts it outside the pack of recent monster mashups like Sharktopus and Sharknado.
The other thing that makes Bloodmarsh Krackoon different is the sense that the film cares. Its director is a resident of Locust Point, the film is set in Locust Point, and this combination creates a film that feels like it's invested in something. Many low-budget films will take swipes at politicians or big corporations, but this one seems committed to showing corruption, environmental waste, and deforestation centrally. By making it about a specific community rather than Anytown USA, the film makes it easy to care about these issues.
Of course Bloodmarsh Krackoon has all the other things you expect from a contemporary feature like this. The effects include practical and CGI blood, which is a nice break from all-CGI flicks. The practical stuff goes from the totally goofy (Red-eye the krackoon often appears to be nothing but a puppet on a stick) to the slightly above average (some of the post-attack gore is pretty good, though not great). Fans of throwback creature features will appreciate seeing the practical gore. The CGI stuff looks pretty terrible, but that's to be expected, and actually adds to the chessy vibe that Landi is obviously going for. The acting is also the usual mix of seasoned regulars (model-actress Cindy Guyer of The Mirror has Two Faces is touted on the cover) and newbies. They do fine enough jobs, though this obviously isn't the place to look for award-winning thespians.
Bloodmarsh Krackoon also gets a pretty solid DVD release. The film's 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer suits the material. Shot on the cheap digitally, the film was never going to look amazing, but this transfer is generally clean and bright. Detail is fine, and compression hasn't rendered the blacks into smears or blocks. The stereo audio is fine, keeping dialogue audible and well-balanced with the screams of Red-eye's victims.
Extras start with the inclusion of the original 62-minute, Krackoon. It's much like the sequel -- bad effects, worse acting, crazy premise -- but it's a good bet if you like one you'll like the other. We also get a 30-minute making-of featurette that's loaded with behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with lots of the cast/crew. There's a trailer vault as well. A commentary by Landi would have been the icing on the cake, but what's here is solid enough for fans.
There's a line between "low budget" or "cheesy" horror and incompetence. In one case you can see the creators struggling against the limits imposed by a lack of funds: shooting everything in one location, Karo-syrup effects, dodgy performances. In the other, it's clear the creators aren't really sure how to put a movie together, and so the lapses in style we associate with Hollywood become more about inability than about the specific production. Bloodmarsh Krackoon seems to fall into the latter camp, with a lot of dialogue scenes feeling like bad first-year filmmaking errors. Maybe that adds a bit of "cheese" for some viewers, but at a certain point I just find it tedious.
If the idea of Bloodmarsh Krackoon sounds up your alley, the film probably won't disappoint. If the idea of watching the exploits of a rabid crack-addicted raccoon for 90 minutes sounds like torture, this definitely isn't the film for you.
Goofy, but not guilty.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Bloody Earth Films
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 87 Minutes
Release Year: 2013
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Bonus Film
* IMDb: Bloodmarsh Krackoon
* IMDb: Krackoon
* Official Site