Blood Was Everywhere has been described as a minimalist slasher film that is heavily influenced by genre films of the 70’s and 80’s but focuses on character development and genuine scares more than building up the body count. It tells the story of seemingly random, unsolved murders as a faceless killer wreaks havoc on the community of a small Massachusetts town. The cast includes Paul Kratka (Friday the 13th: Part 3) and Larry Holden (Batman Begins) as well as a whole host of upcoming talent.
As a horror fan, a title like Blood Was Everywhere is always going to pique my interest and this indie film from writer/director Jason Torrey even came with some pretty cool cover art. But unfortunately blood wasn’t everywhere; it was used sparingly and uncreatively in this slasher film, without very much slashing.
Head inside for the full review!
Meandering through a small Massachusetts community during a faceless killer’s 24 hour rampage, Blood Was Everywhere asks its audience to connect the dots with a character driven story that is too heavily weighed down by lengthy dialogue scenes where nothing much happens. 95% of the movie is spent in the homes and workplaces of the towns residents as a web of connections between all the killer’s victim begins to take shape. This slow burn, character driven approach can certainly work in a horror film, but if you are going to do that you have to make those characters utterly watchable, as an audience we must believe them and care about the situations they are in, unfortunately that wasn’t the case with a lot of the characters on display here.
The best performances come from John Westcott as Kevin; the wandering stoner who adds some comic relief to the opening act, and his charismatic dealer Nathan (Larry Holden), with his token piece of blond ass Tara (Vanessa Leigh). This cutesy couple get a lot of screen time and they are flawlessly watchable, but it turns out they have no real connection to anything else that happens in the story, making their scenes come across as filler in retrospect. And as for Kevin, after watching him painstakingly try and score, his death isn’t even seen on screen- he just winds up dead in a truck.
That’s not necessarily a problem; taking the minimalist approach, this film shies away from gratuity and elaborate death sequences, despite its baseball-bat-brain-bashing opening, but it suffers from showing too little. When 30 minutes pass without reference, sight or indication of the killer, or of anything untoward happening at all, its easy to forget you’re watching a horror film. And when the deaths do come they are over far too quickly.
You want to believe that Blood Was Everywhere is leading up to something big, the first 2 acts certainly imply that the story could be going somewhere interesting. In fact, there is virtually no exposition; the big climax consists of two girls trapped in their basement arguing inanely about whose other half is more likely to be the one after them with a knife. There’s also an over-long flashback scene that puts almost all the characters together in the local bar, throwing the killer into the mix as a random bystander. Its a nice idea, but it weighs down the final act of the film and doesn’t really serve much of a purpose.
The one thing this film does get right is the avoidance of any explanation for the killers motives. A slasher film can always be creepier when the murders are completely random; no revenge plot, no moral cleansing or supernatural boogeyman, just a crazy guy with a weapon killing strangers in cold blood. It goes back to the very first instalment of what become known as stalk ‘n’ slash; Black Christmas, a mysterious psycho in a house picking off it’s vulnerable residents for no apparent reason. Of course the remake insisted on adding back-story and psychological motivation and that has been a recurring trend in horror remakes and contemporary slashers. But I prefer the good old days when a crazy killer was just a crazy killer- and that was all you needed to know. There is something genuinely scary about that that Jason Torry manages to tap into here, random acts of violence no doubt happen every day, and every one of the killer’s victims are just going about their regular daily routines when death comes calling. That could happen to any one of us.
A simple premise that asks some genuinely disturbing question, Blood Was Everywhere could have been so much more, but with a lack of creative film-making and a flawed script it’s certainly nothing to write home about.