Bloodlines DVD Review

 

Written by Steve Pattee

 

DVD released by THINKFilm

 

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This here are the rules: They ain't none. Y'all fight to the death. Entertain me! – Billy Bob

 


Directed by Stephen Durham and Masao Kingi
Written by Stephen Durham and Tricia Liebegott
2007, Region 1, 92 minutes, Not Rated
DVD released on July 31st, 2007

Starring:
Grace Johnston as Amber
Tracy Kay as Jenny
Douglas Tait as Brody
Jason Padgett as Billy Bob

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Review:

 

When a movie opens with a shot of a woman about to give birth in a blood-drenched room, you know you are in for a treat. When you see the Wrong Turn-ish/The Hills Have Eyes-like inbreds circling the woman in the delivery room — who, by the way, is quite obviously there against her will — things are looking up. And when you see the soon-to-be mama plunge a knife in her stomach, just so this too-loving family will never get her babushka, this has the potential to be the Best Movie Ever. Especially when you are a fan of backwoods inbred hillbilly hucklebuck violence.

 

The story that follows the grand opening is a simple one. College bound Amber Strickland (Grace Johnston) stops at a gas station out in the sticks for a fill up for her jeep and a phone call to check in with her brother — who has the uncomfortable characteristic of constantly referring to her as "baby girl" throughout the film. Shortly after Amber leaves the gas station, her jeep breaks down (of course) and, in the process of checking her vehicle, she's knocked out. When she wakes, she's in a dirty room with two other women. Amber soon learns she is held captive for two reasons: breeding and entertainment. As feisty as Amber is, and as smart, this little firecracker is no match for the sheer numbers of the hillbilly clan that hold her hostage.

 

But her brothers are.

 

It's not long before Brody and Dorian, Amber's bigger brothers, figure something is amiss and, not willing to wait for the law to get involved, they pack their gear (read: weapons) and head off to baby girl's last known location — the gas station. It takes no time at all for these good old boys to track down their sis and start kicking a little inbred ass.

 

Wrong Turn, allow me to introduce you to Next of Kin.

 

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Unfortunately, after the fantastic opening, Bloodlines turns into a black comedy more than a hillbilly horror. That has the potential to work, especially with Jason Padgett playing the family spokesman and sister-sleeper-wither, Billy Bob, so damn good. Padgett's comedic timing and natural delivery, coupled with a script seemingly tailor made for him could really have made Bloodlines a quick cult classic or, at the very least, a hit with genre fans. Yet, unlike Billy Bob, who knows exactly what he wants (one thing being sex with his sister, but not kids with her because that's just "goddamnit that's sick"), Bloodlines is confused whether or not to be comedy or horror.

 

The rest of the acting is relatively solid across the board. Grace Johnston has the charisma, and the chops, to carry her role as the bad ass Amber with ease, and the supporting cast gets it done with no complaints. But the real hero here is Padgett. He carries this film.

 

The script has its moments, too, but is uneven for not choosing a side and sticking with it. The sad part is, if Bloodlines had stuck with either horror or comedy, it would have been a damn decent movie.

 

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Video and Audio:

 

The anamorphic 1.85:1 presentation looks great. Colors are natural, with no blemishes. This looks to be shot on film, and I have to give props to its cinematography, as this is a well shot movie. There is definitely some talent behind the lens.

 

Surprisingly, only a 2.0 soundtrack is offered, but I have no complaints. Voices and inbred grunts were always clear, and there was no need for me to adjust the volume at any time.

 

English and Spanish subtitles are also available.

 

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Special Features:

 

  • Filmmaker Commentary
  • Bloodlines Trailer
  • Trailer Gallery

 

Good thing the commentary is as enjoyable as it is, or Bloodlines would be screwed in the features department. Consisting of producer Dominique Telson, Jason Padget and Stephen Durham (co-writer and co-director) — who does most of the talking – this is one of the better commentaries I've heard in a while, and there is no talking over one another, as you're inclined to hear in commentaries with more than two people.

 

The best part of the commentary is the awesome tidbits of trivia sprinkled throughout, like who did stunts in Freddy vs. Jason, who was a bonafied Hatfield descendant — of the infamous Hatfield & McCoys — and who was the son of TV legend Lindsay Wagner ("Bionic Woman", people!).

 

If there's one niggle I have with the commentary is there too many dead spots for my taste, and since the commentary is so good, the dead spots are glaring.

 

In additon to the trailer for Bloodlines, there are also trailers for The Insatiable, The House of Usher, Going to Pieces and The Zodiac (the final four cannot be played individually).

 

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Conclusion:

 

Bloodlines had a lot of potential, but ultimately fell flat with its delivery. If it had stuck with comedy, especially with Padgett, it would have been a heck of a romp. While it does have it's moments, there aren't enough of them to make this much more than a second choice rental.

 

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Grades:

 

Movie: Twostars Bloodlines Amazon Us
Video: Threestars
Audio: Twoandahalfstars
Features: Twostars
Overall: Twoandahalfstars

 

 

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About The Author
AR2
Author: Steve Pattee
Administrator, US Editor
He's the puppet master. You don't see him, but he pulls the strings that gets things done. He's the silent partner. He's black ops. If you notice his presence, it's the last thing you'll notice — because now you're dead. He's the shadow you thought you saw in that dark alleyway. You can have a conversation with him, and when you turn around to offer him a cup of coffee, he's already gone.
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