Bloodshed DVD Review
Written by Daniel Benson
DVD released by Anthem Pictures
Directed by Jim McMahon
Written by Jim McMahon and Michael Roy
2005, Region 1 (NTSC), 82 Minutes, Not Rated
Edward Íce Mrozek as Frank
Shana Lee Klisanin as Beth
Christopher Childs as Donnie
Shannon Laine as Katie
Mark Saffold as Rodney Greene
Ryan Parks as Luke
Paul West as Sheriff Greene
Jennifer Ingrum as Kristen
Brothers Frank and Donnie are loners. Living in their home in the woods, they seldom venture into the local town. Too much loose talk, too many whispers. They are happy with their life of seclusion, it works for them after suffering the abuse of their late father for many years.
But after Frank is forced to rescue his emotionally backward brother from an attack by the Sheriff’s sons, they create a world of trouble for themselves. The mysterious death of a local girl, and the fact that Frank and Donnie have kidnapped the only witness, doesn’t help their case.
A dead girl. A missing witness. A town bent on justice. There will be bloodshed.
From the outset, Jim McMahon’s Bloodshed tilts its cap to its genre peers, yet manages to create something fresh and unexpected — at least for the first act. Watching the opening, as the local sheriff tasers his two Halloween-costumed sons for chasing a scared young girl through the woods, makes you realise this isn’t going to be your typical backwood slasher movie.
The rather generic sounding story, of two outsiders living in the forest and being persecuted by drunken youth from the town, doesn’t bode too well in terms of originality. Yet, most horror movie clichés are turned on their heads with some crafty writing and interesting plot turns.
The acting is patchy, Paul West (Sheriff Greene) being a bit of a weak point, especially considering the fairly large amount of screen time he gets. I tried hard to fathom whether his performance was a very good one of a middle-aged man uncomfortable around the young, or a middle-aged actor uncomfortable in front of a camera. Fortunately, the three most prominent characters, Frank (Íce Mrozek), Donnie (Christopher Childs), and Beth (Shana Lee Klisanin) produce some very convincing performances that carry off the story particularly well.
As mentioned earlier, the first act is cleverly written and felt extremely fresh and original. Without spoiling the plot too much, I was drawn in and empathised with the characters of Frank and Donnie, because they were completely innocent, even in the presence of a dead body. It was shown, through flashbacks, that they were not responsible for the death. Yet, as a horror movie fan, I just knew that they were going to be blamed for the death. It was exciting, it was exhilarating, and it made me hungry for what would come next.
And in one scene, where Beth’s friends come to try and rescue her, the movie took a 360 and went from surprising and delighting me, to giving me exactly what I would expect. Not that it’s a bad thing; it remained a very tense and bloody shocker until the credits rolled. It dished out some really nasty scenes, through some slick editing, where you are fooled into thinking you’ve seen more than you have. Yet all the time, in the back of my mind, I kept thinking back to the first act and how much of a standout movie this could have been if the original story direction had been followed.
It’s a good movie, which is well worth seeing, and if Jim McMahon can maintain this level of creativity for his future projects, he’s in for a promising career indeed.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Not rated, as this was a DVD screener only.