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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Bloodlust
Bloodlust
Other // Unrated // August 1, 2005
List Price: $15.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Michael Zupan | posted November 6, 2006 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie

It's not too often I consider watching something that was made on a really low budget, that can be considered a true first effort by somebody who has a love for entertainment, and the need to create something because of that love. The movie Bloodlust was something that was filmed in my local area, so I decided to pop it in my DVD player and give it a whirl. The obvious questions I had going in, was just what I might think about it after I've seen it. I already knew this project had been done pretty much on a very low budget, even when compared to what we call 'low budget' in the film industry today. We're talking made on a digital camcorder and some people who wanted to be a part of something, not anything with the budget of Saw.

Bloodlust is about a girl who grew up as a nun. She had a pretty nice life, a sheltered upbringing, and people who cared for her. There wasn't anything wrong with the picture that had been her life. A couple of years ago, that picture became shattered when her family had been killed by those who only come out at night. It had been vampires that took her life away, and she's got a Bloodlust that can only be quenched by vengeance.

The idea behind this film isn't very original. Obviously, Blade had a pretty similar background and had become a major box office success. The modern vampire story had been defined as no longer being about an ancient figure in a cloak that had killed innocent victims. Vampire lore has turned into an underground network that lives right in front of our very eyes night after night. Bloodlust brings this underground network alive with a very distinct chain of power that ranges from pathetic blood crazed animals, to the smart and powerful that rule over all. They even have their own delivery guy, a driver, which never says a word and remains cloaked in mystery throughout most of the feature. How deep does the command of power go, and does The Hunter even have a chance at regaining that piece she lost inside of her long ago? If she succeeds, will her Bloodlust be quenched?

Obvious questions that I can't answer for you. The question that might be lingering in your mind may be if this movie will leave your lust for blood quenched after the fact. Short and to the point, the answer here is no. Bloodlust doesn't satisfy your lust for blood, and it doesn't satisfy the level of entertainment you may be looking to fulfill if you're purchasing this as a blind buy.

As I've said, this film is an effort from an independent filmmaker. Analyzing the aspects that make this film a whole, there's much to appreciate about it. The acting from the lead actress that plays The Hunter (Nicole Signore) is pretty decent most of the time. Once in a while I can't help but feel she's not continually locked into her role, and leaves her performance yearning for a little more. For the most part though, she's pretty decent but needs to have some polishing done. The 'leaders of the pack' so to speak, the evil vampires that are on top of the food chain are acted out fairly well, especially the acting for the man who played The Stalker (Matt Kennedy), who you could consider the big cheese. The Driver (Shawn Schaffer) does well in conveying his tones of amusement and fear very well with his actions and facial expressions, which can be appreciated considering how necessary it was for a role that didn't have any lines! Once in a while the acting overall to be a little over done and can come off to be a bit cheesy at times because of that. Some of the minor roles were just not acted out very well at all. Even some work on facial expressions for the very minor roles could have made this film just that much better. For the big parts though that were nicely done overall, I'm sure the complaints one would have could be from the lack of experience, as none of the people involved are big names in Hollywood.

The script wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either. One serious no-no was the shoplifting of a phrase that's been made famous in a cult classic. It had even been altered ever so slightly. 'Give me some sugar, big mama' was a definite mood killer in one of the more action packed sequences the film had to offer. How do you steal a line from Army of Darkness? Other than that, the rest of what the story had to offer was executed fairly well on screen, but there were some minor issues here and there in the script such as the example above that didn't give it justice.

As an extremely low budget affair that was done by somebody who had not a lot of money but a desire to give something to the world, Bloodlust could actually was pretty entertaining. The director Michael Kazlo II used a lot of great techniques for a beginning of a career. There's talent here, and it would be interesting to see what he does with a larger budget and more attention to detail.

The largest complaint I would have, are the sound effects. The same ones are used over, and over, and over again. They sound generated by a computer and a bit more care could have been done to create unique sound effects. A hand gun that was a crossbow, sounded like a dart gun. The punches and kicks all sounded the same so there was no real feeling of impact. This distraction was heightened by some of the choreography that didn't quite make us feel the fast paced action, was actually fast paced. I'm sure nobody was paid well, if at all for their performances and playing it safe was playing it cool. Either way, somebody who may not have been afraid of a little pain or the addition of a gym matt may have helped for some of the stunts the choreography called for.

Also, where's the blood? I know this was a low budget affair, but there were certainly plenty of opportune moments for some Halloween make-up kits to come into play. Where are the gashes and the gory holes? Having a film about vampires almost demands gore. I know the title of the film is Bloodlust and it's more about revenge than actual blood, but some additional time and effort in this department as well would have helped. There was one scene were there were some quick flashes of some obvious chicken bones or something similar being torn apart for effect. I have to say, my hat goes down to the director for that. If it isn't an homage to Night Of The Living Dead, it was still pretty nifty of him to bring that old school trick back to the fold.

Video

It was widescreen but unfortunately it wasn't anamorphic. The aspect ratio was still in 4:3. I'll live with that being that this film was done by no professional studio and it was an independent release which you can pretty much only find on Amazon, but the picture quality even in a 4:3 ratio isn't very good. There's not a lot of contrast as the black level seems to be a bit more of a dark gray, and there's a lot of noise on screen throughout most of the feature, especially during the darker scenes. There were a couple of times where it had been hard to see which character we were watching when we were outside at night due to the digital noise. Once in a while, the aspect ratio for the widescreen would flicker to be a little larger or smaller in a couple of spots, while in one scene the right side of the picture seemed to be lopped off.

Audio

Again, no surprise that we don't have the 5.1 surround track here, as this was an independent release by every meaning of the word. Michael Kazlo II wasn't just a director. He did a hell of a lot for this feature. We have stereo sound which only takes advantage of different channels when throwing in sound effects, which again were pretty distracting with just how much time didn't seem to go into diversifying them. I know making audio for sound effects throughout an entire film is a daunting task but if you have to live with a feature forever, you may as well get it done right. Another distraction was the minor microphone noise that kept cutting in and out when vocal audio was being inserted. Again, more attention to detail could have prevented a lot of the sound and effect complaints I have.

On the other hand, the musical score by Danny 'Danymal' Persons was just on the mark. It provided the mood and atmosphere for every scene. He's a local composer that also isn't really a Hollywood hired hand, and he also seems as if he could have a bright future ahead of himself as well. His score was just what was needed from scene to scene and I hope he goes pro someday.

Extras

For an independent release I didn't really expect much. This is 'not much' by standard reviews here, but this was more than I expected. I really only expected the feature itself and that was it. There is an audio commentary here, and it's pretty informative. Michael certainly put a lot of effort into his baby, and I hope it opens some doors for him in the future. There are some bloopers here from during filming, teaser trailers for the flick, and the website listed for Archangel Productions.

Overall

Bloodlust shouldn't be viewed or judged based upon normal standards. When you're talking about an independent film that was done, well, independently in almost every sense of the word, some things need to be taken into consideration. There was some pretty nice acting by amateurs here in this feature, and there had been some other acting by bit parts that could have been better if some better facial expression direction was given. The ending also could have used a different touch as well. A life had been changed, yet I felt as if we have a Clark Kent on our hands here once it's all said and done.

What's noticeable and forgivable is the lack of experience. I'm sure with more of it someday Michael Kazlo II could really put together a nice feature.

Bloodlust is a good start for somebody who pulled together most of a film by himself. My suggestion for this man would be to pay closer attention for some errors in the future, and take the time in order to correct them. This feature is a nice film to watch if you admire the beginnings of somebody who's working hard to become a filmmaker. If you can't admire something of this nature I can't recommend this to you. I would give this feature a rent it recommendation if you can rent it anywhere, yet it may prove difficult as I don't believe you can find this in rental outlets. This item can be purchased from Amazon.com, as well as Border's as well. If anyone happens to see this at a rental outlet, let me know and I'll be sure to update that here in the future as well!
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