Blood Relic Review
Written by Neon Maniac
DVD released by MTI Home Video
Directed by J. Christian Ingvordsen
Written by Matthew M. Howe
2005, Region 1 (NTSC), 86 minutes, Rated R
DVD released on June 7th, 2005
Jennifer Lauren Grant
Back in 1983, a Navy pilot went insane and murdered the ground crew at his air base. Before being captured, he stashed a Mysterious Voodoo Monkey God Talisman in a hangar.
It is now 22 years later, and the Naval base has been shut down but the legend of Crazy Pilot lives on. A group of young workers hired to turn the old base into an aerospace museum finds the talisman, but fail to recognize the mysteriousness of it. Like all good horror movie victims, the young work crew decides to have a late night séance to contact the murder victims. While they don't unwittingly unleash any evil spirits, they do start being murdered by a killer dressed in a Navy pilot's uniform. What does the Mysterious Voodoo Monkey God Talisman have to do with it, if anything?
Coincidentally, at around the same time, Crazy Pilot gets released from the insane asylum and makes his way to the air base with his own agenda...
A recent trend in indie horror has been to make horror comedies; possibly thinking the humor gives the film some redeemable value or makes up for the shortcomings it has in other areas. Fortunately, Blood Relic doesn't do this. It is a straight ahead, good old-fashioned slasher flick that brings the tension on almost immediately and keeps it going until the end. There are not a lot of makeup effects, but there is plenty of blood, sweat and breasts. There are a few unique kills — not to mention plenty of gruesomeness as we see how the killer has strung up the victims. This is not a new approach, but it adds to the suspense.
During the commentary, Ingvordsen says that the two most important things to any indie movie is a good script and a good cast. Both are here, and he proves his point. Aside from award winning Scream Queen Debbie Rochon and the ever-creepy Billy Drago, most of the cast are relative unknowns. Many are inexperienced, but very competent, actors Ingvordsen has used in the past. Like most slashers, it is an ensemble cast and there are a lot of group scenes. The chemistry is there with the actors, and they work together in a very believable manner. The script has some minor issues, but nothing worth pointing to specifically, and many are things that most viewers won't even notice. The plot is simple, but meaty enough to keep the movie going. Howe knows the formula and pacing of a slasher, and has a knack for writing natural sounding dialogue.
A make or break aspect for any indie movie can be the filming location. Luckily, Blood Relic was filmed at an actual Naval Air-Sea-Land Museum located on an old air base, and the filmmakers had the run of the place. This made for an obviously realistic setting, not to mention it provided a lot of interesting scenery. Many filmmakers would have been satisfied to use a low budget version of someone's interpretation of an air base/air museum, and it would have ruined realism of the movie.
Director Ingvordsen has made almost 20 indie films in as many years, and his experience shines through in Blood Relic. While it does not bring anything new to the genre, it is a very solid and entertaining slasher film.
Video & Audio:
Sporting a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, the audio is crisp and clear. Unlike a lot of indie horror, the sound is quite competent and has an above average original score.
Shot on 35mm film in full screen, the movie looks great. There is no noticeable macro blocking or artifacting and the image is very detailed. The cinematography was well done and the shots were well thought out.
The extras on the disc include trailers for other MTI Video DVDs, Debbie Rochon's behind the scenes Video Diary, and a commentary with director J. Christian Ingvordsen, writer Matthew Howe and actress Debbie Rochon. Debbie's Video Diary runs about 16 minutes and is a lot of fun to watch. A lot of commentaries are dry and uninformative, this is not one of them. The commentators make fun of each other, the cast and the film, but none of it in a derogatory manner. They have a lot of interesting stories about making the movie and they're great storytellers.
Indie movies are usually the best for these types of extras. There is no studio or lawyers telling them what they can or can't say, and no marketing department telling them why something is not a good advertisement for the film. Also, stay tuned through the credit roll for bloopers that are actually funny; not just someone forgetting a line.