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ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Bleed (2002)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Devin Hamilton, Dennis Petersen

Starring:
Debbie Rochon/Maddy
Danny Wolske/Shawn
Allen Nabors/Chris
Brinke Stevens/Phyllis
4 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
Sexy Maddy (Rochon) is new in town and doesn’t waste any time in getting hooked up. First, she makes her gym-rat boss (Wolske) her new boy-toy and then she proceeds to hook up with his obnoxious friends. Shite gets complicated when she finds out about her new entourage’s peculiar "murder club" and the presence of a Michael Myers knockoff who's slicing his way through the neighborhood.
THE LOWDOWN
The box cover art for "Bleed" is nothing original: a knife, a bunch of hot young adults posing on it and a white eerie face in the background. Wasn’t that the poster for all of the teen slashers in the late 90s? Where’s the damn creativity? Well, at least we can’t accuse this puppy of false advertising because the product itself was also nothing novel. It put out a formula that is beyond "played out" in 2003.

Although "Bleed" did try to pull a few “clever” spins on my ass by slapping in a half-baked subplot about a murder club (should’ve made the whole movie about that) and some dream sequences (that result in a gaping plot hole), it was basically a routine slasher with a requisite pre-opening credits kill (showcasing a topless Julie Strain, no less), a whodunit and a lame ass end monologue to explain the killer’s "blah" motive. Yes, there were hints of ambition to be a tad more layered than the usual slasher dish, but sadly the substance was handled in a flimsy fashion and the flick was never smart enough to bank on its potential.

But what grated me the most was that the movie actually acted like a character/relationship driven piece with its heavy emphasis on dialogue. The snag is that none of the relationships in this petting-zoo were near to being credible starting with Shawn and Maddy, who after one night of steamy sex, suddenly act like a couple who's been in love for years. WHAT WAS THAT ALL ABOUT? Lines like “This is not you, I know you” should not be shared after one smutty hump. I didn’t buy it and in turn, couldn’t get into the film’s main game. The rest of the characters’ relationships didn’t fare too well either. These people were supposed to be good friends? Yeah right. Felt more like a group of actors tossed on a set for a day, bribed to take their clothes off with free chips and beer.

Horror-wise, there were a couple of acceptable gory moments but the slasher angle didn’t really gel with the rest of the film and didn’t bring much to the plate except for the occasional wake up jolt. It didn’t help that the kills themselves were tension-free and, at times, inanely stupid. There’s one specific scene where a victim just stood there, immobile in the middle of a pool saying “please” over and over again as the killer made his move. While watching that sequence, I couldn’t help but think to myself, “Hey dumb-dumb...swim to the other side of the pool and run!!” COME ON! Also, if I see one more damn killer wearing a white mask and a mechanic jumpsuit, I’m going to get married and suffer true agony. First the "Cut" killer, then the "Final Stab" loon and now this monkey. STOP SHOPPING AT THE MICHAEL MYERS STORE ALREADY AND GET YOUR OWN GEAR! POSEURS!

Now I know this an ultra-low budget flick, but I still expected more pizzazz from a technical and production standpoint. Visually, this sucka bored me to death! The locations were bland, to say the least (the film looked like it was all shot in the same house), the lighting was too basic and so was the directing. If you crave atmosphere and polished images, look elsewhere. The tacky homemade title sequence, the grainy exterior inserts and the choppy editing cuts also didn’t help to sway me in this film’s bed.

On the upside, I will admit being very impressed by the acting on display. Rochon and Wolske, in particular, held their own like brave little acting troopers. They deserve better material than this. I also dug the Brinke Stevens and "Troma" head honcho Lloyd Kaufman cameos (Kaufman, intentionally or not, was hilarious). Lastly, there was a shitload of naked flesh in the flick (too much guy stuff, if you ask me though) and the film’s last frame was surprisingly unique, especially for the formula in which the flick bathed.

But all in all, "Bleed" failed to seduce or amuse me. The drama and the relationships were poorly executed and unfortunately, those were the film’s driving forces. No amount of jugs or dumbed-down kills could make up for that. And I gotta get this off my “arrow”: There are just so many scenes of Debbie Rochon listening at doors a man can take in one sitting. LET IT GO! Now, let’s stuff this bleeding beeyatch with a Tampon already! She’s making a mess!
GORE
We get a few goodies: a nasty gutting, a violent hammered head, a slit throat and more. We also get an overly bloody bashed head. What was that chick’s head made of? PAPER? Since that particular kill also served as a crucial plot turn, it's implausibility lessened the impact of the moment and the events it triggered.
ACTING
Debbie Rochon (Maddy), once more, proves that she’s better than the movies in which she acts. Can somebody break this girl into “A” movies already? She’s got the acting chops and the charisma to back it up. Danny Wolske (Shawn) also came through. At first, all I saw was just another “beefcake”, but as the movie moved forward, he proved to be a competent actor. His talent matched his biceps. Although a tad annoying at times, Allen Nabors (Chris) did fine as the a-hole of the group. Just keep your pants on buddy! I now know the location of your every ass zit! Brinke Stevens (Phyllis) plays against type in an interesting cameo.
T & A
On the erect side, we get tits galore with Rochon, Strain and one other chick showing it off at the drop of a knife. On the limp side (for me anyway), we get WAAAAAY too many men’s butts and peek-a-boo cock shots. I’m all for equality, but I thought they went overboard in the male flesh department.
DIRECTING
Although I did find a few slick moments to groove to, most of the picture was of the "point and shoot" variety with little attention to style, tension or mood. I also got quickly annoyed by the “voices in Maddy’s head” sound effect. It was reminiscent of Chinese torture actually; I almost lost my kool there.
SOUNDTRACK
We get a couple of okay rock songs and a decent score.
BOTTOM LINE
After reading a couple of positive "Bleed" reviews on the Net, I’ve come to the conclusion that maybe ultra-low budget horror flicks are just not my cup of blood. I mean, I’m not a "Troma" fan, so take that into consideration when reading my reviews. For me, "Bleed" was forgettable, to say the least. It bathed in mediocrity throughout, didn’t bring anything fresh to the chopping block and always failed when it came to its more ambitious goals. Yes, the acting was solid and the T&A was there, but that wasn’t enough for me. I’ll stick to self-inflicted cigarette burns for my entertainment, thank you very much.
BULL'S EYE
Director Devin Hamilton also acted in "Killjoy 2" and "Terror Firmer". He also a small part in "Bleed:". He plays George.

Director Dennis Petersen also edited this movie and directed “Scot-Free” in 1995.
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