Midnight Releasing had first time director and writer Jeremiah Buckhalt take both the honor and helm with Blood Widow, which came from his personal sketches, though never originally designed for the film. One must clearly note, this film has no association to any spider film, rather it is found in the slasher genre, with some freshness and yet a fair amount of standard clichés common both with horror overall.
The plot has Laurie (Danielle Lilley (The Incubus )) and Hugh (Brandon Kyle Peters) are a successful young couple who just purchased a weekend home away from the city, and source of assistance in case of any emergency. However, this comes with a deadly price for the privacy, no cell reception, isolationism, and a touch of infantilism. Friends of theirs head over to the new place to help them along with some other activities, and they fit all the demographics of society, soon enough the friends show their contempt for signs of barring access to a supposedly abandoned building nearby to their friend’s newly acquired house. While the building gives the appearance of a deliberately creepy old residence, it fails to connect that it was a boarding school, no school desks, or even a faded name. A revelation later reveals what the location has a history connected to it concerning a bit of urban legend about a massacre from a young girl who took revenge on her bullying classmates. This tidbit takes a long to develop and yet still leaves numerous plot holes, and is very scant on details, leaving the audience hungry for a flashback sequence, sadly starvation comes first before feeding that desire. Hugh arranges for a housewarming without informing his significant other, hence the first element of conflict, though it seems to slow down the pacing in the beginning, fret not by the end everything will fall into splattering dizzying places and truly find itself hands off for parts of the production. As with most slasher films, a party ensues, with couples pairing off to engage in personal pleasures, and course disturbing a forbidding property means summoning the killer. In addition, the character development remains thin, though common for these types of films, and the inexperience of how smoothly moving the movie along, yes that is correct poor pacing in the beginning.
This killer, Blood Widow, played skillfully by Gabrielle Ann Henry, is now a grown-up with many rage issues, and while one wonders how she (a fresh lookout – a female slasher character) develops the skills of martial arts and learn the uses of razor embedded cat o’ nine tales, scythe, whips, knives, machete, flail and a host of other weapons. Then again, no one seems to care, when either the notorious serial killers Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers use more advance tools than just knives, most just clapped and accepted it as gospel, perhaps this is the genre’s version of sexism.
Jeremiah brings a very small budget film to the small screen with a vicious, cunning killing machine, and a brilliance of bloodlust, of slashing, disfiguring, and mutilating, the entire killer clad herself in leather complete with buckets and thick white faceplate mask. He also provides excellent work with night scenes, something that lacks with indie projects; herein the characters are clearly heard and seen in the darkness, hence adding chilling elements to a visual display of lighted blood effects. The cast does their best with the film yet are newcomers and, in some cases, their first major screen time ever, hence the delivery of lines a tad dull, undesirable, lacking the tension or conviction to propel the scene correctly. The final half of the film really gets the gore on, and brings a wonderful crawling sequence together nicely, involving Danielle and screen loving embrace of Gabrielle allows the audience to cash in on the passion of her intent to kill. Although frenzy increases as the film winds down, the suspense and tension find themselves each a hit and miss, quite common among first time directors, nevertheless, the tried-and-true formula of slasher films holds the film together and keeps the audience focused on the screen than the clock. Aside from some of the plot missteps such as the killer’s name remains a mystery and the last cliché happens in the last five minutes of the film and shall remain unfilled here too.
Blood Widow brings together a rather fresh angle to a tiresome sub-genre with flair and style and might make some wanton for another installment of this character, although some more foreground preferred, as to understand the name and the hunger for the bloodlust.
This review was originally published on the now defunct Rogue Cinema website in October 2014.
IMDb Rating: 2.9/10
Baron’s Rating: 3.0/10