Case Number 00793

BLOODY MURDER

Artisan // 2000 // 90 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // October 17th, 2000

The Charge

Ready or not, here he comes!

Opening Statement

Scream meets Friday The 13th meets "The Wonderful World of Disney." Artisan Home Entertainment has released a new horror film from director Ralph Portillo about a summer camp terrorized by a chainsaw-wielding maniac named Trevor Moorehouse. Capitalizing on the success of the recent slasher revival, this DVD is D.O.A...and C.R.A.P.

Facts of the Case

Take the plot of the original Friday The 13th, tweak it by adding the fact that counselors can now do email from their cabins and you have the movie Bloody Murder.

A bunch of counselors are working up at Camp Placid Pines, a children's summer camp in California (I assume, since this is where it was filmed). The counselors (with personalities as bland as soy beans) start to get to work, readying the camp for the children. But they're not alone...

Lurking deep in the woods is Trevor Moorehouse, a masked killer "who wields a chainsaw instead of a left hand" (so says the back of the DVD case). Although this "killer" does wield a chainsaw in the first and last shot of the film, I saw his left hand EVERY OTHER TIME he was on screen. In my book we call this "faulty advertising."

Anyhow, this guy starts picking off the counselors one by one, and it's up to them to piece together who Trevor Moorehouse is before they're next on his hit list. Soon this Friday The 13th knockoff (complete with the killer wearing a hockey mask) becomes a Scream knockoff (which one of the characters is the killer?) as it sinks deeper and deeper into the "cruddy movie" hole that it doesn't come close to getting itself out of.

Who is Trevor Moorehouse? If you care by the end of this very, very, VERY long movie, you need psychiatric help and a chainsaw to the noggin'.

The Evidence

I can think of no good thing to say about this film, except for the fact that, if we're lucky, it may show up as a "Mystery Science Theater 3000" episode someday. It has some extras, but they're terrible, as are the transfer and audio mix. That being said, we're just going skip right along to...

The Rebuttal Witnesses

Folks, put the kids to bed and hit the washroom one last time, you're gonna be here a while.

I don't even know where to begin to talk about this movie. It's terrible. It goes beyond terrible. At least cheesy, cruddy films such as the ones Roger Corman made were enjoyable to watch for their high camp value. Bloody Murder doesn't even have that going for it. While watching Bloody Murder I took over four pages...FOUR PAGES...of notes about what was wrong with this film. Here are some of my notes:

This is filmed at a summer camp (about summer camp counselors), has a hockey-mask-wearing killer, and a old crazy old coot who warns the kids they are all "doomed." There is even an archery scene lifted right out of the original Friday The 13th. The makers of the Friday The 13th franchise need to contact their lawyers, and quick.

I think this movie is supposed to be campy and funny, but I can't tell.

These characters are about as interchangeable as my BVD collection.

Every death scene I have seen so far consists of the killer walking up behind the victim, the victim turns and shows fear, a knife in the air and fade to black. No blood AT ALL. Must have been edited by The Jim Henson Studios.

The music score to this sounds like Arlo Guthrie wrote it. It has a Frankie and Annette Beach movie feel to it. Completely inappropriate for a horror film.

In one scene, a girl is sunbathing during a sunny day on a dock. We cut to a counselor canoeing up to her and we can see rain hit the lake behind him! Then cut to her, and it's sunny again. Ed Wood, eat your heart out.

The voice over (for the reading of the emails by an off screen character) sounds like it was recorded in a wind tunnel.

At least this film honors it's sources by self referencing them in the movie, knowing full well it's ripping off The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Sleepaway Camp, and Friday The 13th.

The killer looks thin, lanky and hunched over, as if Shaggy from "Scooby-Doo" is playing him.

This is the ONLY horror film I have ever seen where the killer chases a victim and, even SPRINTING, can't catch her.

One character (the killer) actually says "You kids today think your computers and your telephones and your emails can keep you safe in the woods." Do any kids really think that? If I'm stuck in the woods with a killer, I'd KNOW email is not going to save my hide.

While talking about the death of her father, one character actually says "Misery comes in all different forms. It's miserable." How profound.

What kind of name is Trevor Moorehouse for a killer? This sounds conspicuously like the name of a nerdy kid that sat next to me in the 3rd grade.

The characters have so many pauses and flubs in their lines that they sound like they are reading off cue cards they just got that afternoon. I'm putting down fifty dollars that says I'm right.

And on and on they go. Those are just some of the highlights. I can't tell you how bad this film was. The characters act like they have one brain between the 10 of them. There is not one stand out character in the whole movie. The killer, Trevor Moorehose, is the least frightening villain I have ever seen on film, and that includes the mobster hitmen in Weekend At Bernie's. What the hell were these people thinking?

The sad thing is that someone actually raised money to make this movie. Not only that, but OTHER people also ready the script and said "Hey, this sounds like a good movie!" Apparently, these people were all sniffing factory glue that day. Much of Bloody Murder was filmed in the woods (which I'm sure cut down on production costs) and the summer camp looks like it is 18 Popsicle sticks and some super glue stuck together. The good news is that their entire budget of $68.49 is up there on the screen.

Okay, I'm finished defecating on the movie. Now it's time to pee-pee on the DVD and its features.

Bloody Murder is presented in full frame (which I assume was how it was filmed) and the transfer is horrendous. The picture looks grainy and fuzzy, almost like it was shot through a screen door. Not that any of that really matters considering the production values of the movie, which are lower than a made-for-TV movie. The audio is equally as bad, with much of the dialogue being muddled and hard to hear. The music fades in and out at seemingly odd places, and the mix feels like it was done by a 16 year old kid in his parents basement. The audio is Dolby 2.0, but does it really matter? I think not.

There are a plethora of extras on the disc, including a trailer (which is actually well done considering it's source material), cast and crew information, and an audio commentary track with director Ralph Portillo which easily qualifies and the worst and most boring track ever done in the history of DVD. There were literally 10 -15 minute gaps between his discussions of the film, and when Portillo IS talking, it includes such riveting tales as when one of the actresses fell down and got a thorn in her leg which had to be removed, or a rabbit walked into a scene when an actor was talking. Wow. Thrilling stuff. Please, don't stop. At one point, the director remarks on a scene where a character is climbing an obstacle course wall, and the director points out that "This wall was very hard for [actress] Jessica Morris to climb, so we tried shooting it from different angles to make it seem like she was climbing it. I think we really achieved that."

Guess what?

They didn't.

Closing Statement

When I first got this movie I thought "Well, maybe this will be scary, or if not that at least unintentionally funny." No such luck. For the love of all that's good and right, pass on this disc at whatever costs. Spend your money on wiser investments, like a toilet brush or dental floss. Bloody Murder has terrible production values, terrible acting, a total of 5 drops of blood...no gore, no scares, no boobs...just a big pile of movie doo-doo. I guarantee if you buy this film, 4 days later the disc will be used as a coffee cup coaster.

If I were to rate this film from 1 to 10, it would get a "- Z."

The Verdict

Bloody Murder is guilty, guilty, GUILTY and receives the death penalty! Then it's to be buried six feet underground where it's never, ever to be seen again! Court dismissed!

Review content copyright © 2000 Patrick Naugle; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Video: 43
Audio: 48
Extras: 50
Acting: 23
Story: 14
Judgment: 22

Perp Profile
Studio: Artisan
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)

Subtitles:
* Spanish

Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2000
MPAA Rating: Rated R

Distinguishing Marks
* Commentary Track
* Cast and Crew Info
* Trailer

Accomplices
* IMDb
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0240380/combined