Plot: What’s it about?
Every summer camp seems to have a legend about some wild beast or insane killer that haunts the grounds, but few people ever actually see these beings if any. At this summer camp, the legend is of Trevor Moorehouse and this is one bad motor scooter you don’t want to run into in the middle of the night. Moorehouse wears a hockey mask to hide his face and brandishes a wicked chainsaw, a combination that is sure to frighten even the bravest of campers. The first night of camp each year, all the people engage in a game of hide & seek, which is all the more eerie because of the legend. This means a ton of scared people in the dark, wondering if that sound was just their friend…or Trevor Poorhouse. But this year turns out differently than years past, as some of the counselors begin to disappear during the game and that spells serious trouble for the remaining folks. Can the survivors formulate a plan and avoid the chainsaw’s wrath, or are they doomed to be mowed over by what they though was just a legend?
Wait a second…a guy in a hockey mask…summer camp…this seems so familiar to me. I know, this is the basic premise of the Friday The 13th series, but this is horror and as such, originality is not a must in the least. We’ve all the same ideas rehashed over and again, but if the presentation is decent then the movie might turn out to be a good time. This film, Bloody Murder is a direct to video slasher flick that contains a lot of elements lifted from various sources, but if the end turns out to be a fun ride. That’s all I can ask of surface horror these days and since this one never tries to get inside your head, calling it shallow would be pointless. The reason this movie turns out well is simple, it gives a knowing wink to the audience and that lets us know this one is just for fun. We can tell the cast & crew know this isn’t a masterpiece of modern horror, so the point of a scathing review would be null & void. Given what it is and admits to being, Bloody Murder is good and more than worth a look. I mean, how bad can a chainsaw toting masked man movie really be? Bad example I know, but this one is worth a rental in the end.
The name Ralph Portillo might not be synonymous with classical filmmaking, but he has made a number of films and a few of them have found an audience in the home video realm. Some are horror such as this one, some erotic style, and even a couple thrillers wedged in. All seem to have one thing in common, all were low budget and very low profile. Such is the case with Bloody Murder, which I would have loved to seen at a theater if possible. Few direct to video releases get much hype, but you’d think the horror mavens would have leaked about this one, not true though. Most passed it off as a rip off and moved on, which makes me wonder what they see in any horror movies. Portillo borrows from all types of horror movies and lets us know he does, which gives this movie a special charm, in my opinion. A few of Portillo’s other films include Naked Lies, Bare Exposure, Broken Trust, and Mixed Blessings. The cast of Bloody Murder includes Jessica Morris (All Shook Up), Peter Guillemette, Crystalle Ford (MP Da Last Don), Michael Stone (Paging Emma), and Tracey Pacheco (Bring It On).
Video: How does it look?
Bloody Murder is presented in a full frame transfer, which preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. This is a direct to video release and as such, doesn’t have the same gloss as a normal feature film, but this transfer still looks solid to me. I did see some grain in a few shots, but aside from that no serious issues arise here. The colors seem bright and show no smears & bleeds, while flesh tones remain natural also. The grain shows up more in the darker scenes, but the black levels are usually sharp and well defined, so no worries. You need to adjust your expectations due to the nature of the release, but this is a fine visual presentation in the end.
Audio: How does it sound?
This disc uses a stereo mix and that seems to handle it all, without too many problems. Of course, the potential for subtle, atmospheric audio is high with this movie, but that isn’t used much. I suppose that could be reason for complaint, but if you just look at what we’re given, this one is good overall. The screams, chainsaw roars, and other sound effects emerge in fine form, with a nice & distinct impact. The vocals show no troubles either, each word is crisp and the volume is always at a proper level. This disc also includes Spanish subtitles and English captions.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Aside from some pretty cool motion menus, this disc includes a decent selection of supplements. You can jump right into any of the murder scenes with the special “Jump To A Murder” feature, which is cool for this type of title. Some talent files and a trailer also make the final cut, but the main draw is a director’s commentary track. In this track, Portillo discusses how and why this film was made, as well as his own take on Bloody Murder, which is cool. Not a bad array of goodies, especially for a lower profile title like this one.