April 6, 2011

Blooded (2011)

"In October 2005, five young people were kidnapped in the Highlands of Scotland. Stripped and abandoned in the the wilderness, they were forced into a deadly game where the hunters became the hunted. Their ordeal was filmed by an extreme animal rights group as a warning to others: if you hunt... you're fair game. Combining dramatic reconstruction and compelling interviews with the survivors, BLOODED finally tells the full story behind one of the most extreme internet virals of modern times."

After being fooled back in the day by the viral marketing for "The Blair Witch Project", I immediately looked "Blooded" up on Wikipedia to see if any of the events depicted were based on reality or not. Even though I'd never heard anything about this happening in 2005 (and I was sure that it would have been all over the news if it had occurred), I still had a niggling doubt that I might have simply missed it especially as I don't pay much attention to the news anyway. As it turned out, "Blooded" was a mockumentary after all but, damn, it was a believable one.

It really doesn't matter if you are an animal rights activist or pro-hunting to enjoy "Blooded". Like a lot of people, I'm one of the hypocrites in the middle when it comes to this argument. I like eating meat but I'm against hunting for sport or any other cruelty to animals. If I was forced to choose a side, I'd give up eating meat and wearing leather shoes but it wouldn't be without some struggle. My cats eat meat so why shouldn't I? And if vegetarians love all the other animals so much, why do they eat all their food?

"Blooded" isn't about average people or pet owners though, it's about extremists. The animal rights group is as fictitious as the hunters involved but it doesn't mean that there aren't people out there that think the same way as they do. Whether or not they would actually be prepared to do something like this is open to speculation and that's where the horror element comes in. If certain people got pissed off enough with hunters, these events could happen and undoubtedly there'd be a few "innocent" victims along the way. The message of "Blooded" is pretty clear, stop hunting or one day this will happen and there's nothing you will be able to do about it.

Technically, "Blooded" is a fantastic film. Despite being low-budget, it has superb production values, great cinematography and an awesome soundtrack. Director Edward Boase and writer James Walker have done an excellent job with enough characterisation to really make you think about the grey areas of flawed human beings. God, I sound as bad as Harry Knowles with all this praise but I can't recommend "Blooded" highly enough without writing like a fanboy.

Even the acting is pretty good though I preferred the actors within the dramatisation to the ones pretending to be the real victims. I don't think I've ever seen a mockumentary done this way before. It's certainly an original twist on the usual cinéma vérité "found footage" nonsense that we've all come to hate over the years. With a running time of just under an hour and twenty minutes, "Blooded" is nicely paced and not a chore to sit through either.

The only thing that I would have changed is that Isabella Calthorpe who played the "real" Liv Scott was better looking than her dramatised version. I don't have anything against Cicely Tennant but, purely down to personal taste, I think the eyecandy would have worked better. Most people would choose a better looking actor to play themselves in a film of their life so it seemed a bit odd even though the entire thing is bogus. Maybe it was intentional as, now that I think about it more, all of the "real" victims were better looking than their doubles and weren't quite such good actors. All of the performances were fine but the actors in the "dramatisation" were a notch above in ability and credibility. Most people aren't as picky as me and probably wouldn't notice but, since I've mentioned it, they obviously will now.

If you want to see "Blooded" for yourself, check out the official website. You can watch the film "on demand" in various places and buy the DVD in the UK. It hasn't been released on DVD in America yet and will probably be ignored when it is released due to cultural and political differences. Although the thriller aspects and subject matter have a universal appeal, the events and characters depicted are something peculiar to British culture and that may be an impediment to sales. The cynic in me thinks that is probably why one of the characters is supposed to be an American.

Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed "Blooded". It gave me a few things to think about and was good wholesome entertainment. It's not really a horror movie though it does contain more horror elements than the average thriller. I liked the "realness" of it and I think you will too.

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