Laurie and Hugh are a successful young couple who have just closed on a weekend home away from the city. Unbeknownst to them, the neighboring property contains the crumbling remains of a boarding school that was shuttered in the wake of an unspeakable massacre.
With the advent of film and video technology becoming cheaper with every passing day, it’s no wonder there are so many independent filmmakers out there. When I was 12 years old, I made my very first film with a Bell & Howell 8mm movie camera. I gradually worked up to video and the great thing about video technology today is that you can shoot on video but give it the ‘film’ look, so most people won’t know the difference. Depending on your budget, in post-production, you can enhance it even more and make your movie look like it had a million dollar budget when in reality, it might have been closer to $10,000.
I only mention this for one simple reason and that is it doesn’t matter how technologically advanced your equipment is or whether you have two, three or more cameras, at the end of the day, the same rule applies to all movies: your script is what’s most important, everything else is secondary. How many big-budget movies with A-list superstars have you walked away from because the story was terrible? Think about it and I’m sure you’ll be able to start checking them off in no time. The same goes for indie filmmakers, you are never exempt from that rule, no matter who you are or who is in your movie.
With “Blood Widow”, we have Laurie and Hugh (Danielle Lilley & Brandon Kyle Peters) who have just bought a house in the country, far away from civilization. Observing these two young-looking leads, it’s hard to believe they have a combined income that could sustain such a beautiful house and the acreage that accompanies it but that’s the story we’re given. Laurie is excited that they finally have their own place but before they even have a chance to make out and christen the house, some of Hugh’s friends turn up and Hugh tells Laurie he planned a big party for that night and forgot to tell her. Not a good sign.
We’re introduced to their friends who we end up not giving a damn about because, quite honestly, we’ve seen them a million times before in other cliché horror movies. There’s the bitch who has a boyfriend with no backbone, the stoner chick, the guy who is in love with the bitch but unbeknownst to him, stoner chick is in love with him so already we have a love triangle and we haven’t even gotten to the first kill yet. They notice a creepy old house in the distance, obscured by trees and decide to check it out. After absolutely nothing eventful happens, they all make their way back to the house for the party that night.
Stoner chick gets mad at the guy in love with the bitch because they end up kissing in front of her and in her afflicting heartbreak, she does what anybody suffering from mental anguish would do: go to the creepy old house in the middle of the night and light candles so she can meditate. Of course, everyone starts dying off, one by one and Laurie, while she was in the house earlier, picked up an old schoolbook and realizes that the old house used to be a boarding school for young girls. Through some of the written notes, there was apparently a lot of abuse going on and this is the supposed reason for our antagonist’s actions.
We find out that everyone in the boarding school died mysteriously but that a killer was never found. We are led to believe that it was one of the girls who survived but we’re never told anything else about her. The main issue I had with the film, was the lack of story. We are given a small snippet which insinuates the killer must be one of the survivors but nothing else is ever explained. If more thought had gone into the story it could have possibly shed some more light on the killer so that maybe we could get a glimpse into their mental state and quite possibly even empathize with her.
In “Friday the 13th”, we find out that Jason watched one of the camp counselors behead his mother so naturally, with every sequel, it was understandable that he wanted retribution. Here though, it is never rationalized why she wants to kill anybody and everybody and it just doesn’t make sense. We are given a by-the-numbers clichéd slasher flick in which the intended sole purpose is for every character to die a horrible and gorey death with no apparent attempt at character exposition or story development and that’s pretty much what this movie boils down to. Even the big finale, between Laurie and the killer is let down by a preposterous ending which left me shaking my head.
The acting overall, is dreadful, with the exception of Danielle Lilley who gives a good performance as the film’s heroine and Kelly Kilgore as stoner chick Harmony. As well as having a good story, believable actors are a must and here, 99.9% of them are just plain terrible. However, I do have to give kudos to the film’s composer John Czaban. His music is eerily reminiscent of Angelo Badalamenti’s score for “A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 3: Dream Warriors”, one of the best Elm Street movies. Here, Mr. Czaban composes a far-superior score that has no right whatsoever accompanying such an inferior movie.
Available now at Redbox
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