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Life Blood (Pearblossom) (V)

“The problem is that apparently Ron Carlson only had about 15-minutes of stuff to say. The tragedy is that we had to go along for the ride to find that out.”

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A pair of beautiful lesbians (Sophie Monk & Anya Lahiri) go to a New Year’s Eve party in 1968. One of them kills an up-and-coming actor before he has a chance to rape another girl. They head off into the desert night where they encounter God in the form of a woman who promises them eternal life if they are allowed to be reborn as angels with the promise to fight evil on earth. Then God tells Lahiri to suck her blood and 40-years later the beautiful women wake from their cocoons on the side of that dusty highway as Vampires.

What’s that? You’ve never heard that one before. Do you know why you’ve never heard that before? Because, that’s gotta be one of the most whacked-out and sickly interesting premises I’ve heard of for a vampire movie in ages. Lesbian Vampires fighting evil in God’s name! Sign me up for that.

Of course, in the movie there’s a big catch. And, just like that, the actual flick has a big catch too. The big catch is….It’s really lame.

What makes matters worse is that Writer/Director Ron Carlson not only blows a great concept, he blows what has to be the weirdest and wildest cast I’ve seen assembled in forever for a film that has absolutely zero buzz about it. First off we get the insanely gorgeous Sophie Monk as Brooke–a vamp even before she was sucking blood and crisping skin in the sunlight. Add to that a bizarre collection of cameos from Halloween’s Scout Taylor-Compton, Grindhouse’s Electra Avellan (who combined have about 8 lines of dialogue between them) along with a scenery-chewing turn from cult film star Charles Napier as the sheriff investigating the dead bodies that keep piling up. And finally, The Sandlot’s Patrick Renna as the register-jockey working behind the counter at a gas station named “Murder World” who gets caught up in Monk and Lahiri’s mess. Oh…how could I forget… How I Met Your Mother fans will perk up with joy at the sight of everyone’s favorite cab driver Ranjit (Marshall Manesh) as the father of Avellan–another unfortunate patron of the Murder World gas station.

The crux of the film lies in the fact that Monk is clearly the bad girl and Lahiri is the good girl. God never makes much sense about why Monk is allowed to be turned into a vampire–but there is a ton of foreshadowing about what (seems obvious to everyone) Lahiri is gonna have to end up doing about it. The rest of the film is just biding time to get to the foregone conclusion. For a film that promises lesbians and vampires we only get just about enough of either one to justify their inclusion. And in the bloodshed department, the film defers to a lot of necking but not much else. Of course none of that would matter one single bit if the film delivered on the promise of an interesting plot. Instead what we get is a filmmaker whose idea of a character arc is a straight line from point A to point B. So, all that leaves us with is a pair of underdeveloped, over-angsty pretty girls trapped in a gas station. And trapped in a gas station is also where we wind up, as after the first 15 minutes or so, the film sets up shop in one location and more or less spends the rest if its time stuck between the aisles. For a flick with so little plot development to begin with, locking the cast up Reservoir Dogs-style is tantamount to cinematic suicide. These characters don’t have the charisma to carry a talkathon–a point that is made painfully clear as the dialogue eventually devolves into little more than bitching and moaning about being stuck inside said gas station and Monk’s eventual stalkeriffic banter (Things like….”you’ve got nowhere to hide”. Well, no shit sweetie, the whole store is only about 800 square feet!!!).

I think I’m so disappointed by Life Blood because in the beginning – right after God comes down from the sky and starts promising eternal life to Lahiri, then making out with her, then turning her into a bloodsucking angel of death – I thought “Wow, here is a filmmaker that has something interesting and new to say about the Vampire sub-genre.” The problem is that apparently Ron Carlson only had about 15-minutes of stuff to say. The tragedy is that we had to go along for the ride to find that out.



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