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Case Number 14728

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Brotherhood Of Blood

Lionsgate // 2008 // 88 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // October 14th, 2008

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson served as treasurer for the Goffstown, NH chapter of the Brotherhood of Blood.

The Charge

Join the Brotherhood.

Opening Statement

Has the low-budget vampire movie been sucked dry? Not if the Ghost House Underground folks have anything to say about it.

Facts of the Case

A top-shelf vampire hunter named Carrie Rieger (Victoria Pratt) has infiltrated the headquarters of some undead bigshots, and must use all of her tactics and staking instincts to survive the night. Turns out she's neck-deep in some serious vampire-on-vampire violence, involving the top dog bloodsucker and a former vampire hunter turned evil bastard.

Oh, the emotional conflict! Meanwhile, the film shifts back and forth between present day (vampire hunter trapped in the lair trying to weasel her way out) and the past (detailing how she got there in the first place). Ken Foree and Sid Haig co-star.

The Evidence

If you're angling for a splatteriffic vampire-killing orgy of jackknifing plastic prosthetics and Karo syrup, then Brotherhood of Blood isn't for you. More a cerebral vamp movie than an all-out bloodletting, the film focuses on mythology, exposition, character development and cleavage.

In fact, the only violence you'll be squeezing out of the film is fairly tame, confined to the vampire interrogation scene when Ken Foree has his pronounced canines forcibly ripped out with some pliers (pretty cool actually) and a few splashes of the red stuff thrown from off screen and some lame gunfire at the end.

The good news is, if you're not completely invested in the gore quotient, I think there's some value to be found in Brotherhood of Blood. Fashioned more as a twist-heavy mystery than a straight-arrow fright flick, the movie depends mainly on the story to drive it forward. The two-timeline gimmick is implemented well, and actually serves the plot and the actors do their thing with gusto, particularly Pratt, who is in virtually every scene. The mythology of the ultimate vampire bad-ass Vlad lurking somewhere to smite humans and vamps alike is cool—though definitely reminiscent Keyser Soze. Unfortunately, the big reveal at the end fails to surprise; you'll call it from the get-go.

Now I'm usually wary of the word "claustrophobic" when used in a plot synopsis as it is on the back of the Brotherhood of Blood case. To me, that typically means a movie that has a budget too small fro location shooting and too dark to see. This one certainly doesn't diverge much from the vampire's crappy apartment, but the locale suits the intimate story.

Overall, the film is interesting, if not predictable, but far from perfect. The pacing often drags with the talk-heavy nature of the storytelling, the script falls flat here and there ("Even now, you think you can still save me") and the soap-opera-like music feels like a complete misfire.

Though the film quality is limited by the equipment used to shoot it, the 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen is clean enough. Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital. A solid assortment of extras includes commentary by the directors and Sid Haig, cast interviews, a behind-the-scenes featurette, storyboards and trailers.

Closing Statement

Passable, but nothing super-special.

The Verdict

Not Guilty I guess.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 80
Audio: 85
Extras: 80
Acting: 80
Story: 70
Judgment: 74

Perp Profile

Studio: Lionsgate
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• English
• Spanish
Running Time: 88 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Rated R
• Horror
• Thriller

Distinguishing Marks

• Commentary
• Featurette
• Interviews
• Storyboards


• IMDb

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