BLOOD TRAILS has all the ingredients to make an original and tense slasher/thriller, but ultimately the film falls flat on its face onto the gravel below. This is the first bike messenger themed horror film I can recall, but that alone is not a reason to be excited. There were too many times that I was taken out of the film and left asking questions or occasionally laughing
The story begins with Anne, our lead character. She is a bicycle messenger who, one day, has a chance encounter with an alleged bicycle cop named Chris. Things begin to get hot and heavy, even though Anne has a steady boyfriend. Chris and Anne meet up in a series of increasingly violent flashbacks of a sexual nature.
Anne’s boyfriend decides to organize a nice getaway to a mountainous area, chock full of bike trails so the couple can have some alone time. It is obvious that he has no knowledge of his girlfriends, actions. Anne, feeling increasingly guilty about her misdeeds, reluctantly accepts. It is obvious that Anne is troubled by the experience she had with Chris, and doesn’t know how to get over it. It is now that Chris appears, and all hell breaks loose. Chris wants to keep Anne all for himself, at any cost.
The film unfolds in to a battle of wits, between Anne and her assailant, as the game of cat and mouse continues all over the mountain. Chris has no problems with brutally slaying anyone who interferes, but it feels like these people are brought in simply as cattle for the slaughter. There is one scene where Chris “mountain bikes” someone to death. It sounds crazy, so let me elaborate. He flies through the air on his bike, and expertly swipes the rear of the bicycle on a man’s throat, effectively killing him. This scene caused some uproarious laughter and a conversation on how that would logistically be possible. Not that it isn’t possible; I just sincerely doubt it could be done intentionally and with surgical precision. Either way, the film asks us to take this seriously, and I just couldn’t oblige. The killing at times feels senseless and unnecessary, but it does keep things entertaining, however predictable and pointless.
Other than the “bike” scene in particular, the movie evolves into more than a slasher movie. Although that is essentially the basis, Chris’ motives are revealed, and I felt that this was the films saving grace. The plot had lost me along the journey, but the motives of the killer steer this potential disaster out of it’s’ nosedive. It adds some depth to Chris, and makes him more human, which I felt made him increasingly sinister.
The film looks very well done. It is a foreign film, although you would be hard pressed to notice unless you were really paying attention. It comes to us from Germany, but it is entirely in English. The action sequences and intense riding scenes are great, and there is a lot of building tension throughout. It simply did not feel like a horror movie. I remember scratching my head at numerous twists and turns throughout, and undoubtedly many people will agree. The wrap-up of the film left me with more questions than answers, but the ending is the best part of the film. Even though the conclusion was good, the body of the film didn’t give me enough to care about by the time it ended.