2 1/2 Stars
This slasher/thriller delivers all the gory goods you’d expect from a low budget horror film. Blood Widow opens with a paced and at times boring first act, but picks up halfway through ending with a nice little torture scene. Slasher films aren’t exactly known for great plots, sure you have Scream, but the point of Scream is that slasher films aren’t exactly known for great plots. There are a handful of truly shocking slasher flicks, and this ain’t one of them. I’m still not sure on why the killer in this is called the Blood Widow other than it’s kind of a cool name. Going by these notions this is a very run of the mill slasher flick with great special effects.
A young couple have purchased a home outside of the city. A few friends drop by to prepare for a house party later that evening. Just across the way there’s some crumbling remains of a boarding school on the neighboring property inhabited by a killing machine that wants nothing more than to be left alone. So naturally several character go over there and raise hell. What’s an angry Blood Widow to do? Go on a killing spree of course. This is fine and all, but as with most low budget horror the characters get in the way. There’s no one likable in the film, well except the Blood Widow. Everyone else is given nothing to do but complain or party or trip out or fight about crap nobody cares about. That’s the first half of the film, and it might make you want to give up and call it a day, but don’t! Fast forward if you like, the last half is what this film is all about.
The effort and care put into the second half versus the first half is glaringly obvious. Suddenly we have better production design, direction, editing, the actor’s speak less, everything seems to pull together in our favor. Pulling quadruple duty is first time feature director, editor, a bit o’ special effects, and stunt coordinator Jeremiah Buckhalt. I have to put my hands together for anyone that gets a low budget film made and distributed. While this movie fails on having characters we care about and a plot that matters, it excels in the effects arena. There’s quite a bit of stabbing and dismemberment – heads and hands, and all of it is done with exquisite care. These effects could easily be in any million dollar Hollywood flick. Secondly the production design of the Blood Widow lair/torture chamber is great. And last but not least is the costuming of the Blood Widow herself, which is not only captivating to look at, but very creepy.
I’m not sure why horror filmmakers have this want to keep their movies open ended and it seems like everyone is trying to create the next monster. Actually scratch that, I do know why, it’s the sequelitis that’s infected the whole country. At least in this case it felt right. I’d recommend Blood Widow to slasher and low budget horror fans, but it doesn’t quite elevate itself to mainstream audiences.
Director: Jeremiah Buckhalt
Stars: Danielle Lilley, Brandon Kyle Peters