Movie Review: “Bloody Murder”

   Bloody Murder is a 2000 drama horror film directed by Ralph Portillo (Last released a family-oriented film called Salvation Street in November 2015) and written by John R. Stevenson. (No other known works, he also returned to write Bloody Murder 2)

   This film needs no introduction. The hockey mask. The chainsaw. Trevor Moorehouse has become a household name in the slasher genre. Whether it’s the timeless sequel or the thunderous crossover he had with dream master Teddy Cougar, nobody defined 80s and 90s horror like Moorehouse (which is impressive for a 2000 film).

   In all seriousness, you might have seen the cover for Bloody Murder in your local video store, back when your local video store was still a video store. I did. Though, the film didn’t have much success. Most dubbed it a Friday the 13th ripoff and didn’t talk about it. Which is, ironic, considering Friday the 13th was made to exploit the Halloween series. Some would call it poetic justice.

   At the same time though, at least Friday the 13th wasn’t a downright ripoff. Sam Cunningham didn’t spray-paint a Spock mask and create Mike Meyers. It wasn’t called All Hallow’s Eve and it didn’t have countless sequels. Okay, it did have that, but that’s a horror thing not… all right, getting off topic…

   Bloody Murder is about a group of camp counselors working to reopen a camp that was closed because of a series of murders committed by a hockey masked killer named Trevor Moorehouse. However, surprise, surprise, murders start happening and it looks as though Moorehouse has returned!

   The film stars Jessica Morris as the main-protagonist. The actress is also known for Reel Evil, Dangerous Worry Dolls, The Haunted Casino, and Trophy Heads. These are the four films I’ve seen with her, all of which are either produced or distributed by Full Moon Features. The rest of the cast includes: Peter Guillemette, Michael Stone, Patrick Cavanaugh, Christelle Ford, and Tracy Pacheco.

   Contrary to belief, Bloody Murder really isn’t that much of a slasher film. In the generic sense, it focuses on a murderer, but as a film, the comparisons to Friday the 13th are unwarranted. Let’s be quick – Trevor Moorehouse is a blatant clone of Jason and the camp setting is derivative though done in a lot of horror films. But the film itself is very different.

   This is more of a mystery drama. In-fact, I find myself comparing it to a Lifetime drama or something like that. Sentimental music fills the background, and the theme and tone is more soap-opera than slasher. This sounds bad. But could be good. If nothing else, it seems like a refreshing approach to a genre that’s been done the same way a few millions time over. Unfortunately, as everyone would expect, it’s not.

   The acting isn’t terrific, but it’s the hammy dialogue that’s mostly to blame for the shortcomings of the characters. The tone definitely works to their disadvantage, and it makes for a very ho-hum film overall.

   The film has email sequences between the main-girl and her father, narrated between them. Those scenes, and others, are examples of over-the-top cheesiness. But, the difference between these and other campy horrors is this isn’t intentional. Some say this creates a ‘so bad, it’s good’ sort-of effect. I am not one of them.

   Does Bloody Murder have any high points? The narrative is brought down by the dialogue and the cinematography. A veteran slasher film fan is used to this. Then, the appeal becomes more on other stylistic aspects. Does the killer look cool? Are the kills creative? The answer is no on all accounts. The film plays out like a particularly bad horror on ABC Family and never feels like anything besides that. The violence is straight-forward and quick and is done without inspiration. The antagonist has no presence either, which is one of the central parts of a slasher. The cover artwork is also misleading.

   I don’t like bashing low-budget films. It accomplishes nothing. I’d like Nightmare Shift to bring eyes to good obscure horror films more than the bad ones. But this particular film intrigued me. The film’s hated as a rip-off but should be infamous for how uniquely bad it is.

 

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