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Written By:

Ben Bradley
blood pageant

This low budget witchcraft-flavoured film takes a swipe at reality TV and while not entirely successful, has its moments.

American Dream is a cross between a beauty contest and American Idol, with a panel of judges (Snoop Dogg, Danielle C. Ryan, and Matthew Marsden playing themselves). The new season is getting underway, and the contestants gather in a fabulous house, ready to battle it out to become the winner. Unfortunately, one of them is inadvertently invoking an evil presence that is doing away with the competition.

For all the forced scares, Blood Pageant actually works better as a satire of the reality TV industry than it does as a horror film. The behind-the-scenes jealousies, divas, and shenanigans involving the producer are more fun than the hokey witchcraft plot. The Christian angle is laid on a little heavy, with one of the hopefuls being a card-carrying ‘Jesus freak’ (as one of the characters calls her).

Interestingly, the new season of American Dream that the film focuses on contains only women, yet there’s a male in the ‘final’ of the previous series we see earlier in the film. That wouldn’t have anything to do with filling the screen with ‘eye candy’ would it? Considering the ladies who are in the running are mostly odious, vacuous types, a few blokes might have been welcome.

The star names only appear briefly; Snoop Dogg can hardly be seen through all his smoke and Stephen Baldwin pouts his way through his cameo as a priest. The rest of the cast struggle to make the material memorable and director Harvey Lowry excels at portraying the behind the scenes of the show but struggles to raise any fear factor.

There’s some entertainment value in Blood Pageant but lower your expectations if you’re looking for a good fright.

Blood Pageant is out now in select US cinemas and available on digital platforms on June 29th and DVD on July 20th (US only). UK TBC

Ben Bradley

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