Plot: When a car crash leaves celebrity/model, Nicole (Maeve) trapped and alone with boyfriend, Scotty (Taubenfeld), it’s just the start of her problem. With her phone unable to reach the police, she attempts to reach anyone who will help her. Getting through to Casey (Madsen) he promises to help but not before he puts her through hell.
Blood Rush, also known as Flipped, is the first feature by writer/director Harris Demel. Blood Rush is the sort of trapped endangerment thriller that could be compared to films like Adam Green’s Frozen, although there is also a certain kinship to torture films. Nicole’s life is threatened not only by the wreck that she’s stuck in but from the looming threat of Madsen’s gravel-voiced Casey. The latter threat is much more interesting than the former, based on the budget of this film, but there are some moments that stand out. Nicole has to fight off the nearby wildlife in a few tense scenes, and the car’s deterioration threatens to wipe her out too.
The interaction between Nicole and Casey forms the message of the film, one focused on abuse and misogyny. Casey, aware of Nicole’s celebrity status, and more importantly the abusive relationship between her and Scotty, torments her based on her foolish relationship decisions. Blaming Nicole for the abuse she’s endured because she just won’t leave Scotty, presumably for a nicer guy like Casey. This attitude does make Casey all the creepier, as he’s not the first “good guy” to be just as nasty and entitled. The film pushes the idea that it’s up to the abuse victim to fight back and to stop enabling the abuser. It’s not exactly a good message as it picks on the victims rather than saying it’s up to abusers to change their violent behaviour.
The film has interesting ideas and I always appreciate a tense, small scale thriller. However the set up seems pretty forced, it needs Nicole to be able to use her phone but not to use that phone to contact the police. Nicole often has the tools she needs to escape but never uses them correctly which can be frustrating for the viewer. It’s the kind of scenario that requires a lot of suspension of belief to go along with. If you do manage to get into an accepting mindset, the film does manage to deliver a tense story without being derailed too much, with the exception of one ridiculous scene involving a rubber snake.
Demel does well with this low budget thriller, even if there is plenty room for improvement. Maeve and Madsen show great chemistry, as is expected from two seasoned actors. Madsen particularly brings a lot of menace to the film which is impressive due to his almost entirely audio-based role. Blood Rush is a extremely polished and well made film, however due to it’s forced drama and it’s victim-blaming message, it’s suffers. It could be said that Nicole becomes a stronger woman by the end of her torment, both by Casey and by her abusive boyfriend, but it shouldn’t be up to the victim to change, and that her tormentors get off lightly.