Tongue in cheek. Viscerally intriguing. Humorously brutal. Director Madellaine Paxson’s “Blood Punch” is a kick in the butt type of fun that the indie horror genre has needed. Filled with a talented, fun cast, a wicked storyline, and ties to the relevancy of today’s generations, this film is worth watching, enjoying, and rewatching.
While the film suffers from some points in the beginning that are slightly off putting- a non-linear storyline that seems to jump around until the story really gets going, if the audience sticks with it, the filmmakers will pay it back tenfold. The film also is an obviously low budget film, however, it is obvious that the creative team behind it knows their limits and uses them wisely. Honestly, the rehabilitation section of the film (when the main character Milton is sought out in a drug rehab facility) has a feel of Coscarelli’s “Bubba Hotep”. But then the film shifts into a “Breaking Bad”-ish feel of drugs, sex, and lies (even with a lead female with the name of Skyler!).
The cast is great, with only minor weaknesses in some of the supporting characters not feeling real enough, and seemingly just reading off of the page. The lead male, Milton (played by New Zealand actor Milo Cawthorne), fits in a world with Odd Thomas and Columbus (from “Zombieland”). His deer in the headlights persona as the drugs and strange happenstances that unfold around him is quite believable. It is quite humorous to think of Milton as the Green Ranger in one of the later seasons of “Power Rangers”, but it is true. In fact, that is where the Director (Paxson) and the Writer (Paxson’s husband Eddie Guzelian) met the three leads- Cawthorne, Olivia Tennet (who plays “Skyler”), and Ari Boyland (who plays “Russell”). This project has a great sensation of a group effort, where the three leads had a great passion for the script. That is pretty obvious in the film, as the relationships are for the most part believable, and the actors are pushed to the nth degree.
Personally, I am not a fan of Skyler’s weakness to Russell once the trio arrives at the lodge on their journey to cook meth, as for a chunk of time all she does is repeat whatever he says without fighting back. For being the main female (and one of the few females in the film), she is a flawed character. Relatable, but flawed. Russell, on the other hand is not really relatable, but he is fun to watch. Skyler describes him as the devil, and he lives up to that by drugging the cast. Once the cast is drug, the film takes an odd turn as some mythical elements are brought into play, which makes the film somewhat hard to follow at first.
Technically speaking, the film looks great. Shot well, with great structure for the story. The lighting doesn’t distract from the film at all, and instead is used to create some great background for the story to be told. The special effects are fun and also don’t detract from the story, which is a key thing. Although I am not truly a fan of computer generated effects, they are done in this film in such a way that it works and makes sense. The music is a little bit cheesy, with elements of MIDI prevalent in it. It works in the overall scope of this film world, but is a little out of place.
This film is a twisted, wicked adventure that is definitely worth a watch. While the film takes a few minutes to get started, once it kicks in, it is well worth it.
Would I watch this film again? Absolutely. I would definitely watch it again knowing the full storyline, just to see what hidden elements are in the film.