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I "get" that most slasher flicks are stripped-down and bare-bones experiences. One doesn't exactly walk into Friday the 13th Part 3 hoping for a series of unique and thrilling plot developments. The charm of the sub-genre lies in its simplicity. Having said that, I'm still of the opinion that Robert Krause's Blood Trails is an egregiously anemic affair -- even going by slasher flick criteria.
Anne is a bike messenger who loves riding her bike. Her (semi-estranged) boyfriend also likes riding his bike, so (despite the fact that Anne just had an affair with a psychotic police officer) the pair head out to that old standby -- the cabin in the woods -- to spend some quality time together. Just Anne, Michael and two awesome bikes. After about 25 minutes of aimless yammer, the psychotic officer shows up, slices Michael's throat with a rubber tire, and chases Anne into the forest.
That's Act I of Blood Trails, and it's probably the best third of the movie. Along the course of Anne's endless bikings through the woods, she helps get a park ranger and two innocent lumberjacks get slaughtered, and then we dig in with a finale that's as lame and uneventful as the rest of the whole darn movie.
In other words, Blood Trails is a stunningly sketchy little movie, one that displays one good idea for every four head-slapper. Case in point: At one point Anne is on top of a mountain and using her cell phone to call for help. (Also at the top of a mountain is a giant mad-made cross.) Anne spends a few panicked moments talking to her potential rescuer, who instructs her to stay put, stay calm, and keep her cell phone on so that the rescue team can pinpoint her location. Punch line? At no point does Anne think to say "Hey, I'm sitting at the mountaintop that has a giant crucifix on it."
Blood Trails is packed with head-scratchers like that one. I'm still trying to figure out how you'd slice someone's throat using a rubber bike tire. Director Robert Krause doesn't help matters much, framing almost every sequence like a Huffy commercial, jamming wacky techno music into random scenes of biking, and asking his leading lady to spend several extended sequences howling at the top of her lungs like a tortured gibbon. And don't even get me started on the way Blood Trails is cut together. Or written.
The flick feels like it wants to be a stark, dark and female-empowered shocker like High Tension, yet it fails on nearly every count. The killer is silly, the victims are stupid, the heroine is kind of a nut, and the biking starts to get on your nerves after a while. It's like a Schwinn promotional video that somehow got turned into a half-baked slasher turkey.
Video: Anamorphic widescreen, and it's a pretty solid transfer at that. Most of the movie takes place in the woods during the day, and the picture quality is more than passable.
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 or 2.0, either is fine. Optional subtitles are available in English and Spanish.
Just a bunch of Lionsgate trailers: Return of the Living Dead 5: Rave to the Grave, Ed Gein: The Butcher of Plainfield, Silent Scream, High Tension, The Descent, Open Water 2: Adrift, and Hostel: Part 2.
If the only two magazines you subscribe to are Bicycling and Fangoria, you just might be able to scrape a little fun out of this arid little indie. Frankly I think the flick is sort of a sleeping pill.