Director: Francis dela Torre
Starring: Anne Curtis, Alexander Dreymon, Jamie Harris, Dion Basco, Caleb Hunt
Running Time – 101 Minutes
“You kill us in the throat.”
Crystal (Curtis) is a goth stripper on the verge of turning into a vampire. She has seven days to kill a human with a special dagger or, if she changes her mind, have someone kill her with the same dagger. Then she’s kidnapped but rescued by the driver Jeremiah (Dreymon) who she has feelings for. A hitman, a super freaking cool hit man named Bill (Harris) is dispatched by vampire Roman (Hunt) to kill them? Not kill them? Kill the kidnappers? Let’s just say a lot of disjointed stuff happens. All the while the whole movie is being voiced over by Jeremiah’s childhood friend and police officer Oliver (Basco). Painfully, ponderously, voiced over. Oh and Blood Ransom is set in West Covina, which it will remind you of often.
First the good. The film is well acted, well shot and well directed. It was lovely to look at and the casting was diverse. With only one or two outstanding exceptions all the actors were excellent. There are interesting costumes, like Crystal’s goth stripper get-up. The special effects are minimal but look great. The vampires go all black-veins when hungry and the filmmakers used it well. Fun characters abound, from delightfully strange hitman Bill to the Tom Hiddleston look-a-like vampire Roman and Oliver’s cowboy partner played by Clifton Powell. Plus the movie introduces a really unique vampire mythos all its own. And of course VAMPIRES. I love vampires. And I wanted, desperately, to love Blood Ransom.
Phase 1) This is going to be terrible. It’s always dubious when a movie opens with scrolling text explaining the entire plot in advance.
Phase 2) This is going to be awesome! A pretty vampire, a kidnapping gone wrong, and the best hitman since, well OK he’s not John Wick, but dammit, Bill is great and needed to be in his own movie.
Phase 3) When will this be over?
After the first twenty minutes the pacing goes off the rails and slows to an imperceptible crawl as Crystal and Jeremiah go on the run. Oliver’s voiceover continually breaks in for long and morose monologues about his father’s encounter with vampires and the nature of life/fate/God. Roman is barely in it. Oliver adds nothing to the movie. He is supposed to be investigating a murder in a bar and hides the fact that the victims are acquaintances of his. He is covering for Jeremiah all the while trying to find him. But Oliver doesn’t. He’s five steps behind the plot at all times and his voiceover drones on continually.
After a certain point everything stops making sense. Events get sloppy, transitions are sudden, it feels like things happen just to get characters to particular locations. The film also suffers a major identity crisis. It starts off as a supernatural crime drama, wanders off into romance, then ponders the major philosophical issues of our day before wandering back into action movie territory.
I would ALMOST recommend Blood Ransom to die-hard vampire fans. They might be able to struggle through. The problem is I AM a die-hard vampire fan and I barely made it. Someone out there is bound to like it though. So give at least the first half hour a shot if you really, really, really, like vampires. And did I mention hitman Bill?
Kudos for: The existentialist dread and hit man Bill.
Final lesson: Under the right circumstances you can bring a knife to gun fight.
Blood Ransom is currently being handled by Devilworks and you can get more info on Blood Ransom by visiting their website here – http://devilworks.eu/projects/blood-ransom-101-min/