PLOT: Sarah and Matt are starting a new life. They have a new home and a baby on the way. Things take a turn for the worse however when Sarah’s brother shows up unexpectedly and convinces the two - as well as a couple of other friends - that a ghost hunt at a local abandoned prison is in order.
REVIEW: One of the best moments in the new supernatural shocker BLEED involves the reveal of the main character - and the child she is carrying. This is not a spoiler as it is in the plot description. It is also an introduction to a better than expected leading lady with actress Chelsey Crisp. In the first half of this film, we get to know Sarah (Crisp) and his husband Matt (Michael Steger) who are starting a new life. And then the rest of the cast shows up. You have Sarah’s brother Eric (Riley Smith) and his kooky girlfriend Skye (Lyndon Smith). Then there is another couple joining in on the fun with Matt and Sarah’s friend Bree (Brittany Ishibashi) and her boyfriend Dave (Elimu Nelson). It doesn’t hurt to have a small cast to face the horrors in a scary movie, but it never helps to have them make so many terrible decisions.
Sarah and Matt have just moved into a new home in a small town. They are expecting their first child and are finally settling down. Things are fine when her gal pal Bree shows up with her boyfriend for a little reunion. Yet things get uncomfortable with the unexpected arrival of her brother Eric, which soon propels everyone into a nightmare. You see, Eric and Skye have traveled the country going on ghost hunts. When Eric hears about a local abandoned prison, he convinces everybody involved that they should go investigate. This includes Sarah’s doctor husband who holds a grudge against his wife’s jobless brother. So why does he go and leave his pregnant wife when she doesn’t want him to go? So he can prove to Eric that he is an idiot and ghosts don’t exist. Once they arrive, they discover there really are things that go bump in the night. In addition, they find that the townsfolk have a few nefarious plans for the unwelcome new homeowners and their pals.
Horror films are notorious for characters making bad decisions, but sometimes you just accept that fact and enjoy the ride. With BLEED however, husband Matt gets on my nerves very quickly. What kind of guy would make his wife drive around in the woods so he can go on a ghost hunt because he hates his brother-in-law and wants to prove him wrong? There are a ton of other strange decisions made, and every single one of these characters scream victim. It is hard to feel any tension when they fail to use any sort of common sense. When the last act arrives, they have made so many mistakes that you can’t help but feel they deserve what they get.
Another issue is the reveal of what the locales are doing and just who exactly who is haunting Sarah and the gang. Kane (Rajinder Kala) is a menacing figure. We hear stories about this cannibalistic killer, yet his motivation for why he is doing the ghost thing is a bit inconsistent. The story is intriguing, but it tends to feel a bit like recycled parts after awhile. This is not to say there is nothing fresh here. Director Tripp Rhame offers up a few treats for horror fans. He and cinematographer Mark Carroll have some fun with the film’s visuals, especially with some of the earlier scenes. Who ever thought that driving down a country road would be so intense. And thankfully, there are a couple of truly creepy locations including the house and the prison.
And while I had issues with the characters, most of the actors add a little legitimacy to the project. Chelsea Crisp is a solid leading lady. And Michael Steger is good as her sort of jerk husband. Riley Smith plays a major loser, but he is very believable in the role. And it is nice to see a few interesting supporting players including Mark Ashworth as a creepy deputy, and Joshua Mikel who shows up in a couple of flashbacks - when is this guy going to break out with a bigger leading role? Overall, Tripp Rhame made a smart decision by creating a more adult oriented shocker - it’s too bad that they make just as ridiculous decisions as their teen counterparts tend to do in scary flicks.
BLEED is not a terrible film. It’s stylish and has a few creepy moments. The cast is mostly good and it is refreshing to see older characters inhabit a horror film such as this. However, the nonsensical script is a bit frustrating and tends to take away from the actually suspense. Characters making dumb decisions is common in this genre, but this is just too much. Perhaps if you can catch BLEED on Netflix, you may be entertained. And while not perfect, it certainly seems that Rhame could do something exciting in the genre given the right script.