Thursday, April 5, 2007

Blood Trails Movie Review

I watched Blood Trails because I thought it was one of the eight After Dark Horrorfest films of 2006, mainly because it ended up in a stack of DVDs. I even wrote this movie review assuming it was a part of Horrorfest. It actually isn't, but this is what I said originally: "Blood Trails is by far the worst of the bunch that I've seen so far. Of course, I still have two movies remaining, including one from the director of The Grudge which I am not looking forward to, but if either of those are worse than Blood Trails, heaven help us."

Blood Trails has a decent concept, in that it is about a woman who is stranded in the woods after a ruthless killer murders her boyfriend. I always like these one-on-one suspense thrillers, but they need the right elements to work: most notably, a good director, screenwriter and actors. Since the movie essentially focuses on a single person for the entire movie, those involved have an especially difficult task presented to them: how do you make a movie out of a story that offers very little dialogue and even less character interaction?

Sadly, Blood Trails massacres itself.

The movie stars Rebecca Palmer as Anne, a woman who has recently cheated on her boyfriend with someone who claimed he was a cop. She takes her boyfriend up to a mountain retreat to do some mountain biking and present him with the truth, but instead the guy she slept with follows her, kills her man and then pursues her through the woods.

Blood Trails really makes no sense. The way her boyfriend is killed is quite ludicrous, and everything else that follows is so stupid it is hard to comprehend that anyone thought this would make a good final product. Palmer is God-awful in the lead role; in a normal movie, she might be fine, but here, with no one around to support her, her acting ability is pushed to the limits, and then some. She spends most of her time screaming or shouting or crying or acting like a crazy person, even when she finds people to help her. Her rants and ravings led me to believe that the movie would have a twist where it turns out she actually is crazy, but no, nothing of the sort. I wonder what she thought when she watched herself on film.

Writer/director Robert Krause drags things on by making his lead character do all kinds of stupid things. At one point, she gets into a car with a friendly man with a rifle, but she acts so crazy that he grows to not believe her (although, granted, she is covered with a ton of blood that isn't hers, which should be convincing enough). He gets killed. She is still in the truck, but as the killer waits for her to make her move, she just turns away and starts walking back up the hill with her mountain bike. Why not just run him over with the truck? At another point, she runs into two lumberjacks, but instead of explaining herself coherently, she yells at them and they eventually get killed, too. And in another scene, she gets up to the top of a mountain under a Christian cross (completely failing to see that her dead boyfriend is strung there two feet above her head), calls the police and then runs away, rather than waiting for them to triangulate her position (or she could just tell them she is on a mountain top with a cross).

Ben Price, who plays the killer, doesn't help matters. He really doesn't make for a very creepy killer, though much is to blame on the film, not him. He walks slowly like Michael Myers, but is usually wearing a mountain biking outfit from REI and looks otherwise quite normal. Every time he kills someone, he just watches as Anne runs away, which comes off as more cheesy than anything else.

Ultimately, the blame falls on the director, as this film is so absurd and takes itself too seriously. Blood Trails is so inconsistent in its delivery and not nearly as unique as Krause clearly thinks it is that it is just frustrating. Rather than allowing Anne to bike all over the damned mountain and then having her randomly run into the killer time and time again, he should have concentrated the action together and made it a consistently tense thriller. This way, the weight of the movie wouldn't have been placed on Palmer's shoulders as much, and would have made Blood Trails much more exciting than it actually is.

Blood Trails is a complete waste of time. Avoid this stinker at all costs.

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