Tuesday, 2 August 2011



One of the pleasures of the bodycount slasher movie or the modern torture porn film is placing your bets as to who's going to be killed [1] first and [2] next. You can watch the opening ten minutes of a Friday The 13th or a Halloween and decide "him, probably him, and definitely her". Sometimes they surprise you, either by deliberately killing off the natural choice, by killing everyone in the movie (only one character is still alive at the end of Tenebrae) or by making everyone so thoroughly tedious that you don't really care who's next on the machete list, just so long as they get on with it (such as the remake/reboot Friday The 13th). But the structure of this British mockdoc reveals that at least four of its five potential victims make it to the end reels by including equally mock talking head interviews with the survivors. Instantly all tension is defused - you know that him, her and those two survive because they've already been seen reminiscing about it. This maintains the illusion of "reality", juxtaposing the dramatised reconstruction with commentaries and cutaways, but it kills any suspense stone dead.

Blooded has its five potential victims targeted by a squad of animal rights extremists because the leader of the group is a big name in the world of fox-hunting. Following death threats because of his participation and support for blood sports, he and his friends are drugged and chased across the Isle Of Mull in their pants to see how they like it. If they can get back to the cottage they might be able to regroup and fend off their attackers. But what do the extremists actually want and how far will they go to obtain it?

Is it a film in which obnoxious trustfund toffs are shown the error of their ways by people who value of the sanctity of life, even the life of vermin? Or a film about how the hereditary custodians of the countryside have a duty to maintain the wider natural ecology, regardless of the objections from well-meaning but misguided individuals? Whatever stance you personally take, it's an unexpected one for a modern British genre film to hold. In their balaclavas and combat gear, the animal rights squad look more like paramilitaries and terrorists than people opposed to cruelty on a principle. They're quite definitely the bad guys of the piece. But that means that their victims - a bunch of ridiculously rich poshos who actually own half the Isle Of Mull and indulge in the slaughter of wildlife (and, worse still, enjoy it) - are the good guys in what is clearly a pro-hunting movie.

The film's structure as a reconstruction intercut with "that was a horrible moment for me" commentaries also means that all the fictional characters are played by two actors - one for the location footage and one for the to-camera documentary bits (as well as the "found footage" shot by the activists themselves). Blooded is an interesting attempt, but it's muddled and doesn't really work as a drama. They could have junked the documentary angle entirely and just made a straight thriller about people in a remote location victimised by masked lunatics: certainly it would have been unoriginal, and you can't fault them for wanting to do something a little different, but it doesn't entirely come off.


Fox ache:

No comments: