The 322nd review!
On top of horror movies and video games I’m also a big fan of history. I have always been fascinated with the American Revolution and World War 2. In fact, two podcasts on my rotation are histories of both. So you can imagine my delight when ads for a movie on Shudder taking place during World War 2 popped up. When reading about the plot I knew I just had to watch…
Blood Vessel (2020)
The movie plops you down shortly after some major plot point happened. We learn the Nazis, aware they were losing the war, just started firing on merchant ships as a last gasp. We then meet a ragtag group of survivors floating on a raft in the middle of the Atlantic. There’s three Americans, a Russian, an Aussie and two Brits. We don’t know how long they’ve been out there but we do know their supplies are dwindling.
While floating they see a giant Nazi ship coming their way. They decide being prisoners is better than succumbing on a raft and manage to make their way on to the vessel. Much to their surprise, despite loud arguing and some gunfire no one comes out to arrest them. They realize they’re on a ghost ship and making matters even creepier, all the lifeboats have been disabled.
At this point I’m really into the movie. We know nothing about what happened and we learn more about the mystery just as the other characters do. It’s a genuinely creepy atmosphere because we know in real life how obsessed Hitler was with the occult so it could be literally anything and I was excited to be along for the ride with the crew as they try to figure everything out.
As the mystery slowly starts to unravel, we learn more about the characters. There is nothing special about them, although I liked the Russian dude because he’s every single Soviet badass stereotype rolled into one man, and his deadpan delivery on terrifying circumstances is a joy. Another character that stands out is one of the Americans, a cook named Bigelow. He seems like every stereotype of an American from someone who has never met one before, complete with an outrageous attempt at what I’m guessing is a thick New York accent. But other than that, the characters are tropes wrapped in clichés, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing, they all play their roles well.
It’s sort of a spoiler here, but if you do a google search of this movie, the first link tells you that it’s vampires, which I pieced together pretty quick, but I was so disappointed they didn’t make this thing Dracula. They certainly teased it though; what happened on the ship is very similar to Dracula’s voyage on the “Demeter,” they’re in coffins, they have an aversion to holy relics and they’re speaking Romanian, and guess where Transylvania is located! I’m telling you this because it leads to the biggest disappointment in the movie. Bigelow, through his greed opens up a very sinister-looking coffin that was covered in chains, and the first look at the creature was a let down. I mean, it takes 50 minutes to finally see the threat and it’s just… well look at it.
With that said, I liked it. To add to the hopelessness of the situation it does what all horror movies do, except this one did it really quick, and kills off the highest-ranking member of the survivors. Without a chain of command and several soldiers who have been fighting for years, there’s a lot of jockeying for who will take charge. There’s tons of mistrust and alpha maleness between them and it helps realistically up the tension until they find out what the real threat is.
The action, for the most part, is really good except for one scene near the end that averages about 50 camera cuts every second, but thankfully it plays out like a montage instead of something you need to pay attention to. It pretty much guarantees they’re going to survive the encounter, it kills the suspense, but I think that’s what they were going for because the two humans didn’t seem too concerned about it before or after.
I really enjoyed the mystery section of the movie and felt it lost some momentum once they got answers, but there were some standout moments after that. I liked how they set a trap and did battle with the vampires; the final encounter with one in particular was very satisfying.
It’s not the greatest movie in the world, but it’s entertaining. It’s about an hour and 35 minutes but didn’t feel like it. It moves along at a swift pace and doesn’t seem to drag, which sometimes is all you can ask for when delving into more obscure horror. You’ll watch it and enjoy it, but probably not much else.
6 Dr. Chainsaws!
Directed by Justin Dix
2020 NR English 93min
Somewhere in the North Atlantic, late 1945. A life raft adrift at sea, and in it, the survivors of a torpedoed hospital ship. With no food, water, or shelter, all seems lost until an abandoned German minesweeper drifts ominously towards them, giving them one last chance at survival. A SHUDDER EXCLUSIVE.
Cast: Nathan Phillips, Alyssa Sutherland, Robert Taylor