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Blood Widow (review)

Review by Dean Galanis

I adore horror movies. I tend to get looks from many people (mostly family members) when they’re reminded of how much I DO love horror.

It’s interesting, because many of these folks tend to speak to me about horror with a tone that suggests “that’s kid stuff. Why would someone your age watch/read/give the time of day to that crap.”

Of course, these same people tend to like the most contrived, infantile, generic romantic comedies they can get their hands on.

I would concede, however, that these two genres – romantic comedy and horror – tend to encompass maybe the worst percentage of bad to good films of any genre.

For every WHEN HARRY MET SALLY or THE SHINING there are a thousand THE UGLY TRUTH’s or HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION’s.

But I’m always on the lookout for a good little horror gem.

I sat down to watch BLOOD WIDOW with guardedly high hopes.

It received some reviews along the lines of “if you like slasher films, you could do far worse than this one”. Fine with me.  I ain’t expecting the world, but I’m up for a cool little slasher flick.

My hopes were dashed in the opening scene.

A guy with a camera takes photos of an old, abandoned house.  He then goes inside, descends into the basement and is killed by creepy chick with an inexpressive mask.

That’s all we ever know about this guy.  And except for an ambiguous family photo, that’s all we ever learn about our female slasher. (Perhaps the filmmakers had delusions of REPULSION).

Soon after this dull, pointless opening, a young couple moves into their new home, which resides very close to the home from the opening.  The a-hole boyfriend then tells his girlfriend that, oh yeah, the gang’s coming over for a beer bash tonight. She’s understandably pissed.  The gang comes over shortly thereafter and yes, they’re all supremely obnoxious.

Anyway, wacky alcohol- and sex-fueled antics ensue, and every so often someone gets killed by the mystery chica. And that’s IT. 

God knows it’s been said a million times and in a million reviews: slasher films ain’t gonna be Shakespeare.  But ya gotta give us SOMETHING.  ONE PERSON to root for.

Yeah, part of the fun of the slasher subgenre is the misanthropic glee of watching characters we hate die horribly.  But usually there’s at least someone for the audience to give a crap about.  The “Final Girl” in BLOOD WIDOW is sympathetic for a while, mainly because she’s the least annoying.  But once she understands what’s happening and goes into Survival Mode, she does some incredibly stupid things, eroding our rooting interest.

So, you have unappealing characters played by awful actors forced to recite risible dialogue.  Do we at least have some cool kills?  Well, by my watch, there are about 4 or 5 seconds worth of fun gore/violence moments, and the effects run the gamut from pretty good to absolutely terrible (there’s a foot injury gag that is one of the most laughable practical effects I’ve seen in quite a while).

Unfortunately, the movie isn’t even fun on a bad level. 

What makes movies like THE ROOM and BLACK DEVIL DOLL FROM HELL so much fun is the fact their filmmakers were really trying to do something different and interesting.  On those fronts, they succeeded. Films like BLOOD WIDOW just seem to follow the exact recipe for countless films before it, then fail to even make a decent rip-off.  I have no problem with formula films if they can pull it off (hell, I own the ’81 HALLOWEEN II on blu-ray).  But too many films, BLOOD WIDOW among them, are so by-the-numbers they are just plain dull.

Even at just over 80 minutes, WIDOW feels like a damned miniseries.

I made it to the very end, though. The climax was shaping up to possibly have a big reveal or twist, but it just ENDS.

..sigh….

I honestly wanted to like this flick. And I don’t take any pleasure in slamming the filmmakers or their film. But BLOOD WIDOW really does suck. 

Let’s hope they chalk it up to a learning experience and do a far better job next time.

Blood Widow is available now on DVD and Digital.
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