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Case Number 10612

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Blood Stains

Lionsgate // 2006 // 93 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // January 12th, 2007

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All Rise...

Thanks to the valuable lessons found in this lame direct-to-TV movie, Judge David Johnson will never trust his neighbors again.

The Charge

His kiss is just killer.

Opening Statement

How come it feels like I've seen this film before…many, many, many times?

Facts of the Case

Made-for-TV-movie queen Barbara Niven (The Perfect Neighbor) stars as Lauren Kessler, a renowned children's book author and a woman with a damaged past. She and her retired prosecutor father Stan (Daniel Travanti) have just relocated to a new neighborhood, where they both look to start over. Unbeknownst to them, their house has a sinister past, as the previous owner was stabbed to death.

Unwilling to abandon his crime-fighting sensibilities, Stan begins to dig into the case, and slowly unravels some suspicious facts. Meanwhile, Lauren has started a passionate romance with her neighbor Brian (Gary Hudson), a wacko who sees hallucinations and has a tendency to kill people.

Speaking of killing, bodies start appearing all around Lauren, and she finds herself on a crash course with a psycho killer and a garden implement.

The Evidence

It's been about a day since I've seen Blood Stains (busy schedule and all) and I am honestly having the damndest time articulating my reaction to it. And it's not because the film is so unique that it has challenged me to develop a critical approach, no, this made-for-TV suspense thriller is so generic, so uninvolving that, frankly, when I try to formulate coherent thoughts about it, my brain cells automatically shut down in a reflexive act of self-preservation.

There's nothing at work here that I haven't seen a buttload of times before in other, equally mediocre movies of this ilk. The narrative is textbook straight-to-cable fare and, as a result, you'll be able to map this sucker out from the opening titles. So, do you think our heroine will feel a surge of female empowerment during the finale and maybe turn the tables on the big mean alpha male predator? If you answered yes, congratulations, you have a functioning frontal lobe.

As a result of the see-this-crap-coming-a-mile-away storytelling, plan on zero suspense throughout the film, especially as we know right off the bat who the killer is. I suppose we, as the viewing audience, should feel on edge when we see our lovely protagonist cavorting with the bad guy, but that anxiety was almost immediately usurped by disbelief of how idiotic the Lauren Kessler character is. Hey, girlfriend, everyone around you is dying mysteriously, and, in fact, al the murders seem to have happened since you met that guy with the shady past who lives across the street from you.

Look, I'm not going to waste any more time with his movie. It was pointless, predictable and boring and does nothing to distinguish itself from similarly pointless, predictable and boring made-for-TV movies.

Bare bones presentation all around from Lionsgate for a film totally deserving of a half-assed treatment: full frame, 2.0 stereo and zilch.

Closing Statement

Go do something more constructive with your time, like teaching hobos how to skeet shoot.

The Verdict

Guilty. Duh.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 75
Audio: 75
Extras: 20
Acting: 75
Story: 50
Judgment: 55

Perp Profile

Studio: Lionsgate
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• English
• Spanish
Running Time: 93 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Mystery
• Thriller

Distinguishing Marks

• Trailers


• IMDb

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