The nightmare of the unsolved, random murder is brought to life: A faceless killer wreaks havoc on the lives of average people in a small Massachusetts town.
A lot of slasher or serial killer movies amp up the violence and take it to an over-the-top level for both entertainment value and shocking scares. They also turn the killer into a mascot of sorts for the movie or the franchise, if sequels come to fruition. The audience returns because they enjoy watching the killer murder all of the teens, adults, and other people who get in their way. The movies become less about realism and more about topping what other movies have done in terms of violent murder. It is refreshing when a movie reverts to simplicity in the kills.
Blood Was Everywhere is very simplistic in the murders it depicted. The limited 2011 release is about a series of murders in a small Massachusetts town. As a group of friends including Kevin (Phillip Ristaino), Kyle (John Wescott), and Angela (Ashley Arnold) go about their daily lives, a man goes on a killing spree. One by one, the friends are killed in underplayed ways. Then the credits roll.
The most notable part of Blood Was Everywhere was how the deaths were throwaway. Some of them didn’t even happen on screen. The murders were important, yet at the same time they were not. They were meant to move the movie forward but they were not the spectacular scenes of violence that many other movies make murders out to be. They were restrained in their gore. It was refreshing to see serial killing covered in this way. It was not sensationalized, and was more interesting because of that quality.
Another interesting aspect of Blood Was Everywhere was the performances. Though most of the performances in the movie were dull and straight-forward like in many low budget horror movies, there were two standouts. Phillip Ristaino perfectly filled the shoes of the stoner character, Kevin. He was the right amount of humorous with a hint at the pathetic nature his character had. Every scene he was in was a moment of fun that gave a breath of relief from the terror of the serial killer. Also great in Blood was Everywhere was Larry Holden, who plays drug dealer Nathan. Due to his work in more professional films like Memento and Insomnia, Holden is a notch above the other actors in the film in terms of experience and expertise. He knows what he’s doing when it comes to acting. The guy had a presence that wasn’t seen through any of the other performers. He was undoubtedly the best part of the movie and I loved every single scene he was in.
As for the story, Blood Was Everywhere was sparse in actual story. All of the victims are going about their daily routines. The killer isn’t anyone special. He’s just some guy who is killing, seemingly for the sake of killing. Having the meaningless murder spree happen on a day that is going the same as any other day brings some extra realism to the movie. It makes it feel more like it could happen to you at any time. There could be a killer on his or her way to your house right this moment to end your life. This anything could happen style helps to heighten the fear.
But that’s the only aspect of Blood Was Everywhere that had heightened fear. The simplicity of the kills meant that there was no buildup to the murders. There were few moments in which characters searched through empty houses and dark spaces. There was no moody music to raise the hairs on the necks of the viewers before the payoff. And best of all, there were no jump scares that do nothing to move the story forward or build lasting tension. The movie made the fear out of being realistic, rather than playing into the standard tropes of horror.
All of that said, I completely understand if someone does not like Blood Was Everywhere. If you go into horror movies in order to be manipulated into being frightened, this won’t be your cup of tea. It does not show much in terms of murders because it is more about the idea of murder than the visuals or fright surrounding them. It falls victim to some of the troubles that affect movies with low budgets, but it is a success in what it does. I thought it was a solid enough killer thriller.