Blood Rush aka Flipped (2015) Review

bloodrush1Blood Rush aka Flipped (USA, 2015)
Dir: Harris Demel
Starring: Stella Maeve, Evan Taubenfeld, Michael Madsen

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.

bloodrush2The 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.

bloodrush3Demel 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.

6/10

Forest of The Living Dead aka The Forest (2011) DVD Review

 

FOREST 001FOREST OF THE LIVING DEAD aka THE FOREST (2011) DVD

Review by: Dave Wain

Stars: Aidan Bristow, Johnny Young, Michael Madsen, Kyle Lardner, Lisa Cullen

Written by: Shan Serafin

UK Certification: 15

UK RRP: £12.99

UK DVD Region: 2

Runtime: 94 minutes

Directed by: Shan Serafin

UK Release Date: 19th May 2014

Distributor: Point Blank

I used to play a “who’s buying the next round” game called The Michael Madsen. It would typically involve a few friends out for a number of beers, then whenever there was query over who was going to get the next round in we’d do this thing where everyone had to guess how many projects MM had in development over at IMDb. This typically could range from 10 to 40, and the person furthest away would have to stump up their cash. Oh yes – we knew how to have fun! Its 16 (currently) if you’re interested, besides it’s been replaced now by The Eric Roberts (currently 72 – yep, I’m serious).

FOREST 002Anyway, that moment of dull reminiscing came about purely as I haven’t seen the big guy in a movie for quite some time. Here he is in this independent horror movie from first time director Shan Serafin which opens in Japan during a brief post-credits sequence on Mount Fuji as we witness Ariana (Lardner) an American cover girl committing suicide in the ‘infamous’ suicide forest.

Much of the narrative takes place in Japan following a mysterious acid attack on a model by the name of Nichole (Stella March). As she was home alone with her new boyfriend Jason (who happens to be Ariana’s ex-boyfriend), Tokyo PD focus the majority of the investigation on him as it seems largely impossible for any other person to have committed those actions. Jason, who is a photographer is eventually freed and heads back to where the other models in the company are waiting to undertake a shoot, but following the mysterious events he wants to investigate for himself just exactly what might have happened last night in his apartment.

Jason continues to do some digging, but the further he delves the more strange events begin to take place such as pictures flying off the wall and such like. For Nichole however, her return from the hospital is greeted with more worrying scenarios such as threatening messages scrawled in lipstick on the wall of the bathroom. Most concerning of all though is the fact that there seems to be a growing feeling that Ariana is behind all of this… albeit in some supernatural form.

Guys… guys… guys – why are we now putting quotes from IMDb users on the cover sleeve? Not critics, not the assembled film press, just random keyboard warriors who log in to IMDb. The maddening thing is that all these quotes all come from people who have only ever submitted one review… FOR THIS FILM!

FOREST 003*Puts head in freezer. Closes door repeatedly*

Anyway, I have to admit that this a movie in which the cover art is sadly the best thing about it. There was initially an interesting premise, but with Ariana committing suicide in the first scene of the movie, it took away a lot of the depth from the character and expunged any sympathy. Apart from gleaning that she was a somewhat obsessive girlfriend, I do feel that her suicide is too soon in the narrative and the script could have done with more background into her relationship with Jason and her ups and downs within the modelling agency. I understand that hidden beneath the storyline is a damning indictment of the modelling industry just itching to get out, but sadly it never quite does instead remaining trapped in a b-grade horror with poor characterisation which moves at a laborious pace.

2 out of 10