Old 05-03-2012, 12:31 PM
Blood Relic (2005)

Originally written for Hell Broke Luce

Itís been a fair amount of time since I sat down with a slasher flick. No particular reason why, itís just been a while. Iíll tell you this though, when I first fell in love with the horror genre I couldnít get enough of them. Itís probably the most well known of all the horror subgenres along with the classic monster movie. Iím sure when someone with just a little knowledge of the genre thinks of a ďhorror filmĒ they think of some guy in a mask with a knife running after some girl. Itís probably also the most formulaic of any subgenre, therefore theyíre easy to make yet if you ask me hard to pull off effectively when it comes to originality. We all know what happened after Scream, there was a total overload of knock offs, and if you want my honest opinion, over the past decade the real kick ass ones have been few and far between. By no means am I saying that all recent slashers suck, as there have been some great ones released in recent years, (American Nightmare and See No Evil spring to mind), I just want something that strays from the pack a little. Blood Relic was a straight to DVD release from a few years back that has all the classic slasher ingredients, yet it does try to bring something new to the table.

In 1983, under the spell of an evil spirit housed inside a voodoo talisman, fighter pilot Hank Campbell goes insane and murders three other soldiers in the airbase. Realizing what he has done he yanks off the talisman and stashes it, before being caught. 22 years later plans are being made to turn the now abandoned military base into part of an air and space museum, and it is being renovated by a group of college students who work at the museum. While cleaning out one of the rooms, one of the students finds the talisman right where Hank stashed it 22 years ago, although itís taken by their boss Harry (Billy Drago). The group decides to stick around after hours to have some fun at the supposed ďcursedĒ airbase, and soon enough they begin getting murdered one by one, and it also just so happens that Hank Campbell has been approved for release from the mental asylumÖ

Iíll be perfectly honest here, I only bought this movie because I saw that Debbie Rochon was in it and it had a really cool cover (which, as it turns out had nothing to do with the film). Plus it was only $3. Although the premise seemed interesting, I really didnít have any expectations set going into it, but I did end up getting a lot more out of it than I originally felt I would. Blood Relic doesn't exactly re-invent the slasher wheel but in all fairness that wasnít at all what it set out to do. For the most part itís a fairly standard slice and dice, you know, one of those films where the characters make harebrained decisions such as thinking itís a good idea to spend the night at their workplace, hold a sťance just because, play strip poker and go off an fuck in some obscure corner of the base. The voodoo element adds a cool and unique flavor to what was a pretty ordinary premise, yet at the same time it does feel like a missed opportunity of sorts. Aside from flashbacks telling of how Hank found the talisman in Grenada and a quick explanation of itís powers (the talisman houses an evil spirit, and whomever wears the talisman is put under the spirits spell and they go insane) thereís really not a whole lot done with it. There was some ambiguity when it came to the killers identity which was nice as it did lead to some guess work in parts, but I still think there could have been so much more done with the fact that the talisman can possess ANYBODY you know? When it came to the killers identity being revealed, it wasnít completely obvious, but it was one of those situations where youíve gradually figured it out and about 2 minutes before the catís let out of the bag you go ďYep! Thatís who it was, should have seen that one coming for a mile awayĒ.

Billy Drago did his over the top psycho shtick and heís always a blast to watch. Despite the fact that he gets top billing on the DVD cover in reality he doesnít really have a lot of screen time here, and it goes without saying that Rochon out acted everybody else, but this isnít exactly the type of film that requires Shakespearian thespianism. The characters really didnít have a lot to them, which wasnít a big surprise. The story really didnít call for any of them to have a lot of depth anyway, but the cast was more than competent. Having the story take place on an abandoned military base made for some really cool scenery, director and co-writer J. Christian Ingvordsen is certainly no hack, he defiantly knew how to get the most out of his locations. Even the flashbacks of Hank finding the talisman were pretty well done. Economical of course, but well done nonetheless. The film does show itís budget though a few times, especially when it comes to the effects. Thereís a neat gore effect involving a key card and entrails, and the scene is question looks pretty cool, although itís pretty obvious that the internal organs on display are made of rubber. Thereís a pretty innovative kill involving wire and a booby trapped door, and the killer has some innovative ways of displaying their handwork which was a nice touch. When we actually do see the killer theyíre wearing a fighter pilotís uniform which does look pretty awesome with the helmet/mask and all that. Couple that with the fact that theyíre holding a big ass knife it makes for a pretty threatening looking figure.

Ultimately what sets Blood Relic apart from the rest of itĎs straight to DVD counterparts, the voodoo curse aspect, is where it needed the most improvement. Had more been done with the fact that the talisman has the ability to possess anybody, Blood Relic could have really been something else, especially when it came time for the group to get separated from one other, it would have made the events that unfolded much more interesting, IE is there just one killer? Did more than one person find the talisman and put on it? You see what Iím getting at? As it stands, Blood Relic is a old fashioned body count flick with a touch of the supernatural. But itís still an all around fun watch. It wastes very little time getting to the main course of knocking off itĎs characters, and thereís absolutely nothing wrong with that. Itís why we watch films like this. Plus the fact that Billy Drago and Debbie Rochon are in the same movie is awesome in itself. Not a bad way to spend an hour and half.
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