Saturday, November 5, 2011

In short: Blood Runs Cold (2011)

Winona (Hanna Oldenburg), a popular artist (musician, I suppose, but the film's not making that part too clear) is in dire need of a bit of rest and relaxation, so her manager rents her a house in the deep dark wintery woods somewhere around the town where she grew up in.

When out and about in what just might be the only bar in town, she meets her ex-boyfriend Rick (Patrick Saxe) whom she had left to have a career closer to civilization. In an attempt to rekindle old feelings, Winona invites Rick, his perfectly annoying friend Carl (Andreas Rylander) and Carl's girlfriend Liz (Elin Hugoson) to her house.

Alas, poor Winona had stumbled into the wrong home right from the start and is accidentally squatting in the abode of the local cannibalistic undead serial killer. While Winona is sleeping, the axe-wielding and very hungry killer gets rid of her guests for good. The following day will find Winona going toe to toe with her very grumpy host.

Generally, it's never a good sign when a movie's marketing material tries to turn its budget into a selling point. It comes over either as an attempt to excuse a film's flaws or as way too self-congratulatory. I don't think director Sonny Laguna's Swedish $5000 movie (or so the marketing tells me) Blood Runs Cold is good fit for either of the two, for it has mostly the same flaws and troubles any other contemporary ultra-generic slasher movie has.

Problem number one is, of course, the film's desaturated look, keeping with the adage that having actual colour in a movie instead of kinda-sorta colour is something that is to be avoided at all costs. After all, there's no great tradition of horror directors working on a budget using intense colours to good effect at all, right?

Problem number two is the cast's pretty variable acting that isn't completely horrible all the time, but fluctuates between basically alright and pretty horrible without ever reaching the exalted heights of being horrible or alright in a compelling way. I don't think it helps the quality of the performances that the Swedish actors are all speaking English. While it's clear that everyone actually understands what he or she says, and their accents are a lot better than my own, the English dialogue does make the acting look more artificial. It also adds unnecessary distance to the film as a whole; it's more difficult to lose yourself in a movie - a state a film with a plot this thin and full of the usual slasher movie holes needs a viewer to get into - when the all-Swedish cast for some reason decides to speak English with each other all the time.

The rest of the film is slasher movie by numbers. Although there are two or three tense moments, and nothing about the film is technically bad, the film lacks a personality of its own. I have seen everything that's going on here a million times before, so a film really needs to do something original or strange to keep me interested. Blood Runs Cold unfortunately doesn't.

So yes, Blood Runs Cold proves you can make a middling slasher movie for $5000 that is just as middling and basically okay as a movie that cost twenty times as much. I just don't think this is an achievement I should be praising.


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