Blood Punch Movie Review
Written by Ryan Holloway
Released by Bounty Films
Directed by Madellaine Paxson
Written by Eddie Guzelian
2014, 104 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on 16th January 2017
Milo Cawthorne as Milton
Olivia Tennet as Skyler
Ari Boyland as Russell
Adelaide Kane as Nabiki
Cohen Holloway as Archer
A young man is busted out of rehab by an attractive woman and lured into a dangerous love triangle that takes a series of surreal and horrific turns in this sometimes fun and quirky black comedy.
Blood Punch did wonders for first time director Madellaine Paxson on the festival circuit and although it falls into certain low-budget traps it does show promise for the young filmmaker.
The film is explained to us through a series of cuts to a video recording that Milton has made for himself and it sets the tone early on that not everything is going to be what it seems or what you expect.
Milton, played by the awkward looking, New Zealand born, Milo Cawthorne (Deathgasm) is in rehab for his addiction to meth. When the sassy Skyler, played by Milo’s real-life wife Olivia Tennet (Shortland Street), turns up at a meeting looking for a cook he is quickly convinced, after some drug-fuelled sex of course, to join her, and ‘Russell’, who has been able to get his hands on 100 pounds of pseudoephedrine. One day is all she asks of him in return for a giant payday, and so when cop Russell orchestrates the breakout Milton flees with them not knowing what insanity awaits.
Of course, the meth lab is in a cabin in the woods but it does act as the perfect setting for the events that are about to unfold and we discover early on that it’s built on old Native American ground so the alarm bells are set off instantly for something strange.
Strange perfectly describes Russell, played with intimidating and maniacal precision by fellow Shortland Street alum Ari Boyland. He controls Skyler in a very sadistic manner, as he makes her hold blocks of wood for him to chop with an axe. It’s a perfect way to describe their relationship and also acts as an early cringe moment as the block of wood gets smaller and smaller in her tiny hands.
The trio quickly set about getting high before the work begins, creating an intense atmosphere for the story to get into second gear. Milton is busy getting batches of meth ready when Russell turns on him and threatens to kill him. Milton’s ‘you need me to cook’ defence is taken away from him when Russell explains he already knows how to finish the cooking on his own. He cryptically tells Milton to ask Skyler how he knows the method before Milton throws chemicals in his face and Russell showers the scene with bullets. Skyler eventually puts him down and it's left to Milton to bury him. This is where the plot thickens...
When Milton awakes in the exact same spot as the previous morning, he is greeted by Russell uttering the same words from the day before and thus begins a horrific Groundhog Day-style scenario. Skyler also remembers the events and as the couple get closer they must find a way to deal with their seemingly immortal gooseberry.
In possibly the film’s best moment, Milton and Skyler come up with increasingly evil and inventive ways to dispose of Russell, hoping to break the cycle, but to no avail as every day starts the same, with only Skyler and Milton having any memory of the days that preceded it.
It’s here that the film unfortunately starts to lose its way and become too confusing for its own good. Attempting to explain it in this review may also start to make your eyes bleed and be far too spoilery so we’ll wrap it up quickly.
Theorising that they need to leave the sacred ground to break the loop they decide to make the drug drop, get the cash and fly out of there. This is where we meet their dealer Archer and his beautiful sidekick Nabiki who have no intention of parting with their cash so a shoot-out ensues. It’s a fun distraction from the cabin fever that we have suffered thus far but as the duo escape and begin to turn on one another it sets up a finale that, depending on your point of view, is either witty or likely to elicit a nauseating groan.
The performances are adequate enough and the direction zippy but you can’t help feeling that this would work better as a short rather than being stretched beyond its means. It’s also let down by an overbearing soundtrack.
Madellaine Paxson may well go onto bigger and better things but will need a better team around her next time around.