September 30, 2012

Filthy Review - 'Blood Soaked'

Blood Soaked (2012)

Review by Jude Felton

A couple of years back I reviewed director Peter Grendle’s short movie, This Side of Nightmare, and was quite impressed. It was a short, sharp and brutal 11 minutes that followed a young couple travelling home on spring break, who fall foul of a couple of hate-filled religious fanatics. Now he is back with Blood Soaked, which in actual fact is the feature length version of that tale, with a few twists and turns along the way.

In Blood Soaked we join Piper, who is heading off to college with her mother along for the ride. Whilst there Piper meets Ashley, and the two hit it off immediately. They head out to a party in the desert and, despite a minor altercation with a drunken girl, have a grand old time. However, things go south when they are driving back home, when they meet a couple of neo-Nazi young women.

Blood Soaked is a brisk 70 minutes of film that takes you in a familiar direction, but continually manages to surprise you. On the surface it comes across as purely a lesbian couple fall foul of Nazi’s and then take one Hell of a beating. There is more to it than that though, and to reveal too much more would take a good amount of the surprise out of the film. However, the lurid opening credits, complete with Nazi imagery and newspaper clippings, should give the eagle-eyed a good idea of what is too come. Even then, it will come as somewhat of a shock.

Visually the film is a game of two halves, switching between color and stark black and white, which does add to the overall effect of the film. I did find that the camerawork sometimes got a little disorientating as it was almost constantly on the move, although this did add to the sense of panic and violence that was being portrayed on the screen.

The violence, of which there is plenty, is fairly unrelenting and at times quite shocking, without being overly gratuitous or gory, and really keeps the tone of this film at a very bleak level. As you might have surmised by film’s title, there is a fair amount of blood on display, although it is the psychological violence that is most disturbing, especially towards Piper.

The cast are all pretty good in their roles, especially considering the low-budget nature of Blood Soaked. Heather Wilder, as Piper, is charming, and Rachel Corona really portrays the butch lesbian role exceptionally well. The real stars for me though were Laina Cathryn Grendle and Haley Derryberry, who played the aggressors of the film. They came across as nastier versions of Baby Firefly from The Devils Rejects, and I mean they are just plain vicious.

Overall I thought Blood Soaked was a good to honest slice of violent entertainment. It’s a raw and visceral 70 minutes that opens with the warning of what is to come, and then lulls you in before assaulting you. It isn’t perfect, and I did find some of the earlier college scenes to be a little heavy-handed in there execution; in particular some of the scenes between Piper and Ashley, and the aforementioned camerawork did batter me a little. That aside though I was impressed by the pervasive sense of dread and aura of violence that Grendle creates.

Blood Soaked isn’t mainstream cinema; it’s a violent kick to the balls, and a perfect antidote to polished and ultimately soulless pseudo-horror that is all too common. If you liked Dear God No! you’ll probably get a good kick out of Blood Soaked.

For more information about Blood Soaked check out the movie's Facebook page.

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