Film Review: Blood Was Everywhere (2011)

SYNOPSIS:

A small Massachusetts town is terrorised by a series of random murders.

REVIEW:

I understand that this movie was original intended to be a reworking of horror classic FRIDAY THE 13TH but when an official remake was announced writer-director Jason Torrey had to change his plans. Happily for him, I reckon we’ve ended up with a better film as a result. The reason I say that is because the last thing the world needs is another version of FRIDAY THE 13TH and, having found himself in the position of having to rejig his movie, Torrey has created something much more interesting and original.

The film begins in an ordinary town on an ordinary morning; people are waking up, turning on the news, reading their mail and getting ready to go to work. But at one house a stranger walks through the front door and beats a couple to death with a baseball bat. Unaware of this terrifyingly random crime, the rest of the town goes about its daily business. Construction manager Kyle (John Westcott) says goodbye to his wife Angela (Ashley Arnold) and heads off to work.

Outside he finds Angela’s brother Kevin (Philip Ristaino), a feckless drifter, asleep in his van. Kevin wants a ride to drug dealer Nathan (the late Larry Holden) to score some weed only Nathan won’t seel him any because Kevin owes him money. Kevin calls his buddy Jack (Adam Morey) to come over and lend him some money; when Jack arrives Kevin gets the money and goes back upstairs to Nathan while Jack waits outside in his jeep. When Kevin comes back down, Jack has disappeared…

Across town teenager Sam Unger (Kevin Hayes) is being hassled by his father (Ben Kirchmyer) about the chores that need doing. Angela talks on the phone to her friend Jessica who has recently broken up again with her boyfriend Rick. Angela and Jessica decide to have lunch together. Patricia (Sherrie Lemire) is at home looking after her autistic daughter Lucy (Popi Kapiris); they go for a bike ride together. On the way back home, Lucy falls behind and, stopping to catch her breath, sees a violent struggle at the bedroom window of their neighbours’ house, the Ungers…

So you see what Torrey has come up with is a kind of cross between a slasher movie and something like Robert Altman’s SHORT CUTS or Paul Thomas Anderson’s MAGNOLIA. As far as I know that hasn’t really been attempted before in the horror genre so full marks to Jason Torrey for attempting it. The sense of community, of interlocking lives is very well done and much more complex than my attempted synopsis suggests. The tension of course comes from not knowing where the killer will strike next or which of these people we have come to know will suffer the most violent intrusion into their lives.

The film’s not perfect by any means. The low budget means the film looks dirt cheap and suffers from very muddy sound. No doubt shooting in a studio was a luxury Torrey could not afford and so, filming in actual locations, means some of the interiors look really cramped – as if the entire film crew and actors have all had to be crammed into a kitchen, or a bedroom for any given scene. It’s a problem that has beset many low budget film-makers over the years and indeed was something of a trademark in Andy Milligan’s Z-grade horrors.

Similarly the acting is a bit hit and miss. Some of the cast are really good naturalistic actors – Larry Holden most notably – but others are terrible and deliver their lines in a dreadfully stilted manner, with their arms folded as if they don’t know what to do with their hands. But that’s another problem familiar to low-budget movies – often the semi-pro or even amateur cast just don’t have the basic acting chops to be truly convincing. That said, the ensemble nature of the movie means that occasional lapses into bad acting don’t last too long and don’t mar the whole piece.

On the whole then, BLOOD WAS EVERYWHERE is a welcome attempt at doing something original. The trivial occurrences of daily life in a small town are very well realised and the short, sharp sequences of brutal violence seem even more horrifying in that context. Well worth a look and Jason Torrey is a name to keep watching.

Blood Was Everywhere (2011)

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