When you take a good look at the amount of slop that has polluted the slasher genre since 1978, you really have to question the audacity of some of the responsible producers. Have you ever wondered what the initial pre-production plan was behind movies like Night Ripper and Cold Fear? Did these guys really expect such dross to perform miracles on the home video market? Keeping that in mind, it would take a brave man to take a gamble on a slasher movie that hasn't as of yet been signed for any kind of distribution. Made way back in the year 2000, Bloodstream has yet to find a scheduled release anywhere across the globe. It was only because the movie had come from the proved capable hands of Dennis Devine and Steve Jarvis (Dead Girls/Fatal Images/Club Dead) that I even bothered trying to track a copy down. I eventually managed to contact Jarvis, who was good enough to send me a DVD screener. Even though I was a great fan of Dead Girls and Fatal Images, I found it hard not to approach Bloodstream with expectations lowered. Surely if the movie was any good then it would have been snapped up moons ago, right? Well fortunately enough and not for the first time in my splatter-reviewing career, my preliminary expectations were off target with this one .
It kicks off in the unfamiliar settings of a chemical laboratory. A devious worker manages to trick a dim-witted security guard into letting her sneak out a small quantity of an unknown substance. The woman takes the vial to a remote warehouse, but she is brutally murdered by an unseen menace before she is able to receive payment for her pilfering! Next up we meet the likely body count material and massacre applicants at a Los Angeles 'talent' show. Pam has traveled from Arizona to watch her younger sister Sandy's singing debut and she soon gets to meet her friends and colleagues. Unbeknownst to her and the guests, Sandy will not be performing tonight, which is due to the fact that she has been kidnapped by a nut job who may or may not be a vicious serial killer. The following morning when she doesn't return, Pam and her new found friends begin searching for the youngster. It soon becomes apparent that someone doesn't want Sandy to be discovered, because members of the search party begin being kidnapped and then surgically dissected by a cackling masked psycho. Next we learn that the motive for the attacks is not as straight-forward as first expected and soon a mysterious link between the victims leads to an authentic conclusion
Unlike traditional post-Scream slasher yarns, Bloodstream has an extremely complex and credibly creative synopsis. Without giving too much away, let's just say that the screenwriters handle the many branches of sub-plots with finesse. Despite a huge amount of interchanging activity in the intriguing story line, the film manages to maintain its focus, which is certainly kudos for Jarvis and Devine. You'd expect comfortable direction from the two genre veterans and cinematically the film looks a treat. Even though there are visually obvious budget restrictions, the sets are stylishly lighted and attempts at suspense are carried out with uttermost flair and panache. The level of dramatics is a huge improvement from previous Devine outings, and the script does well to poke fun at a few of the genre's customary stereotypes. There are also one or two bloody murders that liven up proceedings. My favourite would have to be the grisly eye stabbing that recalled the terrific opening from Evil Dead Trap. Also watch out for the surgical torture scenes, which manage to look credibly realistic, despite the miniscule budget. Credit to the visual FX crew that supplied some decent gore and even a few creature effects that offered some interesting diversity to the traditional conclusion. In fact, I can honestly say that Bloodstream is a movie that stays in your head hours after the film has ended. A very accomplished feat for a teen-slasher.
When reviewing a pre-screener, I guess that you can ignore some continuity mishaps because they would probably be well ironed out in the final print. I especially enjoyed one small blunder, which clearly revealed the nozzle of the smoke machine bellowing fog into the moody night sky. Jarvis admits that the audio on the disc is not perfect; and in all honesty, it is extremely sketchy in places. But as I said, the main problems with Bloodstream are not bad enough to keep the movie on the shelves. It was apparently re-edited and streamlined once or twice to keep the mystery running smoother. Even though the net result is set at an adequate pace, I did notice one or two minor gaps in the plot, which thankfully managed not to detract credit from the complexity of the story.
It seems somewhat unfair when you consider the amount of schlock on video shelves that an authentic and ambitious title like Bloodstream cannot find distribution. I guess that like most things in life, it all boils down to good luck and being at the right place at the right time. Perhaps it is not too late for a company to pick up the title and place it up on the world stage. Mind you, when you consider the fact that the seminal Legend of Moated Manor has still never found a way on to cinema screens, you have to remember just how fickle and misguided some of these studio 'big-wigs' are. I enjoyed watching this skillfully directed treat and find it hard to explain why movies as contemptible as Paranoid and Head Cheerleader Dead Cheerleader managed to find huge distribution. I just hope that you guys out there in film land will one day have the chance to see if you agree with my comments
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