DVD REVIEW: BLOOD WIDOW / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: JEREMIAH BUCKHALT / SCREENPLAY: CHAD COUP, IAN H. DAVIS / STARRING: DANIELLE LILLEY, BRANDON KYLE PETERS, CHRISTOPHER DE PAUDA, GABRIELLE ANN HENRY / RELEASE DATE: NOVEMBER 10TH
In a genre often dominated by deranged males, Blood Widow looks to introduce an unhinged female killer into the fold. The basic premise centres on a couple, Hugh (Peters) and Laurie (Lilley), who buy a large isolated house in the country. To make things interesting, there happens to be an abandoned boarding school near to the property. When some friends come to visit Hugh and Laurie, they decide to snoop around the old school. Unknown to them, they awake the vicious Blood Widow (Henry).
Blood Widow may sound like a slasher film straight from the '80s or '90s, but large parts of it work. To start with, and something that is key to any film of this ilk, the movie has a suitably impressive-looking villain. The film’s initial pacing is well handled, the tone is decent, and the core group of characters are made up of various stereotypes that we’ve seen in plenty of horrors before. The only thing is, a lot of the characters are annoying, including the majority of the females on show. In a film that gives its ‘big bad’ nod to a badass-looking female, the rest of the ladies on show are instantly unlikeable and with fairly few redeeming features between them.
And that’s where some of Blood Widow’s problems lie: in its characters and in its dialogue. Often the dialogue just seems forced and inappropriately positioned in order to lend itself to plot points, and the delivery from certain actors, particularly Hugh’s friend Kenneth (de Pauda), takes away any sincerity or believability. Peters, looking eerily like Robin Van Persie, is the clear standout, whilst Lilley, as his other half, has a permanent scowl etched on her face as she plays the more adult of the duo. In fairness to Lilley, she does get better as the film goes on, although she also gets fewer lines as the film progresses.
On to the titular Blood Widow. When parts of her backstory are revealed, she gets positioned as a sympathetic character, but her brutal actions reveal her to be no more than an emotionally- damaged, sadistic killer. The film puts itself in a pickle as it makes its victims unlikeable but doesn’t give you enough of the Blood Widow to cheer her on either. Just as the action and terror starts to get interesting, including a vile leg break, the film comes to an abrupt halt at 1 hour 20 minutes and delivers a hugely underwhelming ending.
Blood Widow has some good moments, particularly in its final third, plus a stylish, twisted killer at its core, but the film comes across as rushed and as if the writers just ran out of ideas for its finale, which is a massive shame.
Special Features: Audio Commentary / Blooper Reel / Trailer