Low budget horror films are often hit and miss affairs. There's a lot of schlock out there, and a lot of sub-par work, but also some really inspired and original stuff. Bleading Lady a/k/a Star Vehicle is a low budget offering that tries out a moderately original take on the horror genre, but ultimately fails on many levels.
Don (Dan Ellis) is one of those guys that drives actors and directors out to movie sets and back home and to the corner deli and whatnot. He's sort of an angry fellow, and lets us know it without a doubt in the first three minutes of the film when he hacks to death a bunch of whiny young actors giving him a hard time and lipping off. How he explained why the people he was supposed to deliver to the set never arrived isn't explained.
Don gets a job working on a low budget slasher film and is surprised to discover that the lead actress is famous scream queen Riversa Red (Sindy Faraguna), with whom he has been long obsessed. He discovers that she's been being harassed by an unknown stalker, and immediately pledges to protect her. While Don is quite taken with Red, and would do anything, including kill, to please her, he takes an instant dislike to the film's young director Luke (Nathan Durec). Don can't resist taking a few verbal jabs at Luke, and indeed is quite disagreeable to almost everyone. He insults a couple of homosexual grips, smashes the head of the other driver, Frank (Mike Li), into a fence when he makes a crude remark about Red, and regularly belittles the concierge at the lodge where the cast is staying.
Most of the film is Don getting in altercations with people, and acting creepy around Red. This can't last, of course, and he gets into one too many fights with Luke and is fired from the film. Things take a turn for the worse from there.
Bleading Lady doesn't have a lot going for it. Most of the performances are pretty wooden, and the dialogue is forced and unnatural. Sindy Faraguna is competent for the most part, but can't reach the emotional levels necessary at the end. She merely descends into shrieking. Dan Ellis does a pretty decent job at times, but it's not consistent, and he doesn't have that crazy spark that great obsessive performances have. He's just an unstable guy with a bad temper, and not a terribly remarkable one, except for the mass killing. He's too unlikeable to be a serviceable anti-hero. This might have worked had there been a stark contrast between Don and Luke, but they are both unappealing, just in different ways. There is no frisson of watching the wicked being smitten here, just jerks being killed by another jerk. This is too bad, as the setup is intriguing. Bleading Lady works as a meta-slasher film set around the slasher film that Luke and his cohorts are making. An attempt is made to contrast the ineptitude of the film within the film with Bleading Lady itself. It doesn't work, as either humor or as an ironic look at the banality of much modern horror film. This is because, much like between Don and Luke, there's not much different between Bleading Lady and the cheesy horror film within it. Both are poorly executed and silly. Both feature unbelievable performances and copious amounts of blood. Undeniably, Bleading Lady is superior to the intentional dreck of Luke's film, but not markedly so. All of this merely reinforces the weaknesses of everything we are watching.
This is not to say that Bleading Lady is without merit. The blood and makeup effects are exceptionally well done. At one point, someone's cheek is torn out with a crowbar, and the flappy skin and gore and blood are quite believable. There's lots of splatter, and it's just over the top enough to be fun without being ridiculous. A significant amount of talent is on display in this department, but sadly gore along is not enough to carry a film, and the fine blood effects go to waste. That sort of encapsulates the film. It wastes a great concept by inexpertly executing it under what were clearly severely constrained budgets. Bleading Lady could have been an ingenious horror satire, but instead falls flat. Skip it.
The video is presented in 1.78:1 widescreen, and has some issues, mostly with aliasing. However, this review is based on a check disc, so no comment can be made on the quality of the final product.
The audio is in Dolby digital 2 channel, and is serviceable. However, this review is based on a check disc, so no comment can be made on the quality of the final product.
There are no extras included on the disc. However, this review is based on a check disc, so no comment can be made on the quantity or quality of any extras on the final product.
Bleading Lady has a lot of potential, but squanders nearly all of it. The innovative concept is never adequately fleshed out, and what we do see is often dull or drawn out or poorly performed. The blood and gore effects are surprisingly effective, however, and provide one of the few bright spots. Taken as a whole, the film fails to entertain or intrigue. And what else is left?