It’s 1933 in small town America. Prohibition is soon rumoured to end, which is a blow for a cop like Jack Malone (McFadden). He has made a healthy living out of applying taxes on the bootleggers and anyone else who makes a profit from criminal activity to ensure he and his fellow cops look the other way. There’s a new speakeasy in town, and it should be another easy mark. But Malone soon suspects something else other than just selling booze to willing patrons is going on there. He figures there’s a bigger pie to take a chunk out of, but the truth isn’t what he was expecting.
Turns out this speakeasy is run by vampires who think the town should be theirs and the people in it their blood factory, with head creep Chesterfield played by Ice-T. They don’t take kindly to Malone discovering their secret and a bloodbath ensues. Now Malone has to do his actual job and protect the townspeople from the evil that is stalking them.
Writer McFadden and co-writer and director Dan Lantz clearly wanted to live out their gangster and vampire fantasies with Bloodrunners, and they definitely go to town on both here. For a movie that cost little to make, the costumes and cars are all present, making for a handsome production. By keeping the movie based in only a handful of locations it manages to help deliver a reasonably convincing atmosphere, but let’s pause here for a word about digital filmmaking. Being shot on digital makes everything super clear, almost brutally so. For low budget horror films it loses the ramshackle magic being shot on film gave a lot of cheap 60s/70s/80s movies and sometimes serves only to highlight the artifice of the finished product, as it does here.
Those vamp and gangster fantasies are also resolutely nothing new here, made up of so many clichés. The vampires are the usual type we’ve seen over innumerable television shows and films in the recent years. On the plus side it has got some humour that does on occasion work and some nice little character notes or behaviours that suggest time was spent thinking it all out. Most of the performances are fine, with one or two forced notes, and although Ice-T is no acting genius he is nevertheless a force of charisma.
Although there’s very much a tongue-in-cheek approach here (albeit not a parody) that borders on the outright silly sometimes, especially in the literally batty conclusion, there are also no pretensions at high art either. This is filmmakers having a good time and making something eminently fit for a late Friday night’s undemanding viewing, and sometimes that’s all you need.
BLOODRUNNERS / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: DAN LANTZ / SCREENPLAY: DAN LANTZ, MICHAEL MCFADDEN / STARRING: ICE-T, MICHAEL MCFADDEN, AIREN DELAMATER / RELEASE DATE: TBA