Anna Taylor (Christina Ricci) is a bored and depressed young woman. She attends a funeral and for a split second thinks that she may have seen the body move; Funeral director Eliot Deacon (Liam Neeson) catches a glimpse of Anna’s reaction. Anna isn’t having a good day; she’s unhappy in her relationship with her wealthy boyfriend Paul (Justin Long) he doesn’t understand her wants and needs and it appears that she doesn’t either. After an argument at a fancy restaurant Anna flees into the stormy night and promptly crashes her car into a truck.
Anna ‘wakes up’ on the morticians slab only to be told by Eliot that she is in fact dead and he has a gift, the ability to communicate with the dead before their crossing over fully to the other side. He prepares Anna for her imminent burial; her wounds are dressed, she is stripped and indulges Eliot in clichéd conversations about what it means to be alive.
For the next hour or so Ricci spends the movie naked, drugged and wavering between accepting her fate and half-heartedly trying to escape.
Anna’s boyfriend believes that she’s still alive and tries to find out exactly what is going on at the funeral home. As he delves deeper into Anna’s death his own life starts to unravel.
Is Anna alive, kept in a semi-conscious state by the drugs administered by Eliot or is she really dead? The images thrown at us over the course lead us in different directions and towards differing conclusions as to what is happening. Anna experiences the supernatural in the form of an elderly female corpse in the movies freakiest and only real horror themed scene. However the fact that she is being drugged and leaves condensation on the various mirrors she breathes onto leads us to believe that she is still alive.
The film makers obviously believe that they have made or at the very least set out to make a serious look at life, death and what happens between. However the script is riddled with clichés and is barely sustained by some decent performances from an understated Neeson and Ricci who spends most of the movie completely naked, if they’d used that as a selling point it may have done better!
The result is an incredibly melodramatic and self-conscious film that takes itself far too seriously. Is Anna dead or alive… or in the space between? That’s up to you to decide, I for one didn’t care either way.
Quality: 2 out of 5 stars
Any good: 1 out of 5 stars
If you enjoyed ‘Cloverfield’ and I’m not judging you… then you should enjoy this, check it out here
Sometimes when you rent a cheap horror DVD you’re pleasantly surprised, it’s rare that you unearth a gem, usually you get what you expect. With Blood Night you get what you expect, in fact the quotes on the cover leave you in no doubt: “The kick-ass splatter film of the year” and “Gratuitous violence and gore”. That’s exactly what it is.
Blood Night: The Legend of Mary Hatchet to give it its full title starts with Mary Mattock, nicknamed ‘Hatchet’, killing her parents after having her first period. She is sentenced to life in a mental institution where she spends her time naked; she’s raped by a night shift guard and gives birth to a still-born baby. One night she escapes from the institution and kills nurses, orderlies and beheads the guard who raped her before eventually being shot dead by two Policemen. All of this is shown before the opening titles, all 12 minutes of it, for a 78 minute movie that’s a fair chunk of premise.
20 years later a group of teenagers get together for a séance and party on the anniversary of Blood Night. The characters are basically a slasher movie check list, there’s the town nutter, Graveyard Gus (Bill Moseley) who knows all the stories and has seen Mary’s ghost; the sporty guy, the geeky guy, the party guy, the hot chick, the couple who head off early to have sex, you know what’s coming… Mary turns up and proceeds to chop off heads and generally kill the teenagers in fairly bloody ways.
The surviving kids escape from their party and run into Graveyard Gus, he drives them to the old mental asylum, informing them that Mary is searching for her dead baby. If they reunite mother and child Mary should be able to rest, however when they dig up the child’s grave they discover that the coffin is empty. Searching through the asylum records they discover that the child didn’t die, a girl, she was adopted by a local family..!
This is the type of horror flick where you have to check your brain at the door or spend the movie picking holes in the quality of the script, direction, performances, effects and all manner of production flaws. No one sets out to make a bad movie and lack of budget isn’t an excuse anymore. A good idea works no matter what, good direction and performance shine through, and there is no excuse for splatter effects given the great work done on a budget in the past. It could have been an entertaining, nasty little slasher flick but the ‘stylistic’ camera angles and horrible CGI additions to the gore ruin what chance the movie had on that score.
Quality: 1 out of 5 stars
Any good: 2 out of 5 stars