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Blood Trails

Film Three Stars

One of the first things you notice about Blood Trails are the titles. They look great, hard screaming music to very stylish titles, in a way they are quite reminiscent of those from Se7en and work well at setting the mood before even seeing a frame or hearing a word spoken.

We're then treated to how the film is going to look, using Mini DV with a long lens zoomed in close, giving a distinctive look and a very intimate feel. It helps to get right into these characters early. However sometimes this style detracts from the action and we lose some of the finer points of what has just happened, it's fine though because the director ensures that we're all caught up in the next scene without overplaying the events.

BloodTrails.jpgThe story is pretty simple and one thing I liked is it didn't try to over explain the characters, their background or the situation too much. In that respect it did treat the audience with some level of intelligence.

However there are some poorer moments with a few horror clichés thrown in there that are quite frustrating, and a couple of poor character decisions. What was also disappointing for me, as an ex-mountain biker, was the lack of MTB action. I thought we might be treated to some pretty hardcore downhill action, or at least some more extreme XC. However the most we got, apart from the couple of stunt falls which were well executed, was simple road and trial action.

Some of the early cycling montages do feel a little too long though, particularly because they are all trail and road based, what are you going to show but the character cycling around corners and speeding along straights. It is well handled, but you do get the feeling that there could have been more variation in the cycling, or perhaps shorter runs.

This is quite easy to understand why this is so when we heard from the cast and crew after the showing. The female lead, Rebecca Palmer, had only discovered clickable gears a few weeks before the start of the filming, and even then she only received minimal training. Saying that though she really went to town and did a lot of the action sequences herself.

Afterwards the cast and crew told us a few facts, for instance it cost a cool $1 million, but the most interesting fact was how they filmed the cycling. This was done from the boot of a car, the cameraman sitting in the boot filming as the actors cycled as close to the car as possible, and at speed!

There is one of the most amazing uses of a mountain bike I've seen though, and that first death is superbly orchestrated. You have to watch out for that and keep your eyes peeled as it happens. However it's not too gory until the end of the film, and it's here where the story really turns.

Until the final act of the film we've been racing around the woods and there's been quite a lot of killing, whereas for the ending of the film we turn back on the two characters and become very focused on their relationship and who the killer really is. Some of these scenes are quite painful to watch, and are deliberately slow and drawn out. It's uncomfortable, but good, strong horror, and very enjoyable to watch.

The acting is very strong from the three main characters, some of the ancillary actors are slightly amusing though, for instance I can't believe how camp the policeman is, yet the main actors all deliver strong performances, especially Palmer. At the end you really do start to feel for her and her ongoing pain.

The ending is very satisfying, and all I would have wished for is that final death to have been drawn out a little longer, it caused a gasp from the audience but I'm sure more could have been pulled from them. The very final moment is a bit clichéd again, but then I did say there were a few.

The audience gave them one of the biggest rounds of applause I'd heard all weekend.





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Comments

Thank you so much for such a wonderful review. The staff and fans at Dead By Dawn were incredible and we hope the rest of the world will enjoy the film as much as you did!

Thanks for the comment Travis, and because of that I've just found the trailer and how to get hold of the film.

Trailer [Flash:Embed:RP] - http://imagination-llc.com/bloodtrails01.htm

Availability - Lgoebel@imagination-llc.com

SuhWEAT. The official site has more info and some photos for those who like blood. Or, pictures of it at least. http://www.blood-trails.com

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