Horror, Slasher

Blood Widow (2014)

Comments Off on Blood Widow (2014) 19 December 2014

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Studio:  ARCANI

Distributed By:  Midnight Releasing

DVD Release:  June 3, 2014

Director:  Jeremiah Buckhalt

Rating:  Not Rated

Reviewed By James M. Dubs

I’ll watch anything…including Blood Widow.

Between Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, I’ll admit to dragging tail on posting parts 3 and 4 of my Brain Damage Films/Midnight Releasing “slasherthon.” To summarize up to this point, Sledge was not good. The Bunnyman Massacre was watchable for limited select audiences. And my critique of Killervision is soon to follow here.

Of the four films, Blood Widow represents the best film of the collection. It is also Midnight Releasing’s flagship release. Of all the films in their catalog that I’ve screened/reviewed Blood Widow represents the most consistent final product from the director, through the cast, down to the DVD extras. But is it worth a blind buy, rental, or should you skip it all together?

Film Rating: ★★½☆☆

BW_1Midnight Releasing’s official synopsis:

“Laurie and Hugh are a successful young couple who have just closed on a weekend home away from the city. Unbeknownst to them, the neighboring property contains the crumbling remains of a boarding school that was shuttered in the wake of an unspeakable massacre. The sole survivor of that massacre still resides in the ruins of the school, hiding from the world and wanting only to be left alone. When Laurie and Hugh’s friends explore the property, they have no idea that they disturbed an emotionally-broken killing machine: The Blood Widow.”

Compared to The Bunnyman Massacre (which I also scored a 2.5), Blood Widow is better, but not so much that it deserves 3 stars. Unlike, Bunnyman which reveled in the simple joy of having a man-in-suit wreak havoc, Blood Widow actually has a paper-thin plot that holds up well enough to drive the narrative and justify having a group of youngsters out in the countryside in harm’s way. In order to reconcile this discrepancy, I’ll begin with a statement that should more clearly define how you may feel about Blood Widow compared to another quintessential slasher series – Friday the 13th.

Blood Widow follows and largely succeeds in replicating all of the typical conventions that has defined the success of the Friday the 13th films.

BW_6Interests peaked? Before you horror fans get too excited, Blood Widow more readily stands shoulder to shoulder with Friday the 13th Parts 7 and 8, Jason Goes to Hell, or Jason X as opposed to Parts 1-6. The conventions are identical – masked killer stalking it’s prey in ever evolving death sequences, average production value, nudity, gore effects, absurd plot holes, characters doing things that elicit audience reactions (i.e. “Bitch, don’t just stand there! Run!”), etc. And it all comes to a head with the likable heroine ultimately forced to face the monster as the film does manage to stir up some legitimate tension in the final act with a well orchestrated cat-and-mouse hunt.

The one item that still puts Friday the 13th above all slasher films is the practical gore and make-up effects. Using a mix of practical and CGI work, Blood Widow goes above direct-to-video expectations but still falls short of the lofty expectations horror fans typically have for their blood and guts. And for those of you who either haven’t seen Friday the 13th, or have no interest to do so? You’ll find nothing worth visiting in Blood Widow.

I realize that I’ve said virtually nothing about Blood Widow, but that is intentional on my part. Substitute the “Blood Widow” for Jason Voorhees and you’ve practically got the next Friday the 13th installment. For the record, I like Friday the 13th Parts 7 and 8, Jason Goes To Hell, and Jason X. So if you like, or at least tolerate, all of the Friday the 13th films then there is reason to suspect you may find Blood Widow to be an average time waster.

Video & Audio Rating: ★★☆☆☆

BW_2Just like the narrative, the video and audio presentation is average through and through. Shot on video, there are certain inherent limitations to the production so I tip my hat to the production team for creating a product that looks as good as it does considering the low-budget limitation. That being said, this will never look as good as film or high-end digital so set your expectations appropriately.

Sound effects sound stock at times, but the stereo mix is adequate. Musical accompaniment by John Czaban helps promote the moody atmosphere created by the visuals, but definitely leans toward the synthesizer keyboard vibe found in direct-to-video releases.

Extras Rating: ★★☆☆☆

BW_4The DVD packaging promotes the following extras:

  • Audio Commentary – A moderately insightful track that includes a large number of contributors including Chad Coup (Producer, Co-writer), Derek Marunowski (Production Designer), Jeremiah Buckhalt (Director, Editor), Phillip Marunowski (“Bobby Sullivan”, Exec Producer, Art Director), and Ian Davis (Co-Writer, Assoc Producer). The five members cover a broad range of topics but never delve deeply into any aspect of the production. Everything is covered on a very general scale and considering the large number of participants, there are a considerable amounts of quiet moments where the party get caught up just watching the movie.
  • Deleted Scenes – These are actually only two “extended scenes” which only total about 1 minute 52 seconds combined. Excising them from the film neither helps nor hinders the over all product so it’s questionable why they are even included.
  • Blooper Reel – A 4 minute string of “outtakes” that are probably more amusing for the cast and crew than the rest of us.
  • Original Trailers – Listed on the DVD case but not included.

Overall Rating: ★★½☆☆

BW_5The cast and crew behind Blood Widow successfully created a moderately entertaining slasher flick. Even in the commentary they acknowledge that their goal was to replicate an experience from 80s/90s slasher genre, and they mostly succeeded. However, in their quest to mimic the films that inspired them, they also conjured the mediocrity that permeated the genre in the decades that have proceeded this one. Blood Widow is generic horror, largely forgettable, but worth a rental if you’ve got the time to waste.

Author

- who has written 67 posts on UnRated Film Review Magazine | Movie Reviews, Interviews.

James Dubs is a father and husband who loves his family first and movies a close second. He believes every movie is worth watching once and, as a film fan and critic, believes that even the worst movies offer something in return. His mission is to watch anything and report without pretension. Follow James Dubs on Twitter and send him suggestions on movies you would like reviewed - popular, obscure, independent, etc. He'll watch anything for you.

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