15 February 2004 | RareSlashersReviewed
Gives a good impression of what Cinema would be like in the deepest fathoms of Hell...
If someone asked you to name Friday the 13th's visual trademark, what would be your answer? My guess is that nine out of ten people would choose the hockey mask that adorns every cover from part three up until the most recent entry as the series' most memorable attribute. Freddy has his deadly glove and Jason has his mask, no doubt about it. Trust Ralph Portillo, - the director responsible for the incredibly awful Fever Lake and a few other equally bad direct to video schlocksters - to go as far as to shamelessly steal Mr. Voorhees' signature facet for this horrid third rate dupe of the franchise. In the UK, this was released as 'scream' bloody murder and it doesn't take a genius to work out what was behind the choice for that title does it. I wondered exactly how much barefaced flagging I would find craftily concealed within the runtime and was looking forward to playing 'spot the influence' if things got a little too tedious.
It opens with a couple's car breaking down on a secluded road through some woodland. After arguing with his girlfriend, the guy decides to leave the safety of the vehicle and head out on foot to try and hitch a ride and get some petrol. On his journey he bumps into a masked psycho with a chainsaw that very quickly offs the unfortunate fellow just out of view of the camera. Next up we meet a group of poorly dramatised counsellors that are on their way to Camp Placid Pines, so that they can prepare for the visiting children that will be arriving in the next couple of days. Placid pines is situated in an area that pays host to an often-touted legend concerning Trevor Moorehouse and his murderous antics towards campers. Soon enough an unseen killer begins slicing his way through the counsellors and carefully stashing the corpses so no one is any the wiser to his anti-social escapades. Is it Trevor back to add strength to his legend or perhaps one of the workers has something to get off their chest in an exceptionally violent manner? Put it this way we've been there before. Many a time.
Firstly I must make an apology for my economical write-up of this routine entry into the 'killer in the woods' plotline. There's very little to put into words about Bloody Murder, because basically if you've even seen one of the many other stabs at a 'campsite massacre' flick, you'll know exactly what to expect from this mediocre muddle. Yep, we're not trying to add anything new to the formula here; instead they just rehash the age-old platitudes without bothering to add anything remotely plausible or authentic. The cast at least manage one bit of exceptional acting, when about half way through they all sit round a large screen pretending to look engrossed as they watch Portillo's previous slasher throwaway, Fever Lake. Anyone who manages to fake interest by that supreme waste of shelf-space should certainly feel that they have given an award-worthy performance! But seriously, these guys are as moronic as you can imagine, especially Julie (Jessica Morris) who's flat and obnoxious character really started to grate as time rolled on. I kept hoping that she would be next to meet the blade of the psycho, but no such luck, we were stuck with her unconvincing warbling right up until the end.
Just like Scream and the flocks of imitators that have been released most recently, we're meant to be intrigued into guessing who it is that's actually killing everybody. Red herrings and dodgy suspects abound, but the brainless conclusion is barely worth a mention and you'll probably guess who's behind the hockey mask halfway through anyway. Perhaps the most horrible thing about Bloody Murder, even worse than the shameful scripting and sub-standard direction, is that it's incredibly yawn-some. Even watching it to take notes for this review was a painful experience that I won't hurry to repeat. There's no gore, suspense or momentum and the performances make Arnold Schwarzenegger look like Lee Strasberg! The only redeeming feature was the attractive scenery that was truly a beautiful backdrop and deserved tribute from something much better than this offending offal.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about Bloody Murder is that it was successful enough to spawn a sequel that was a damn site better than this. Quite why anyone thought it was necessary to follow up something this terrible is indeed questionable. What's the point in watching a fifth rate Friday the 13th, when you can go and get the original for exactly the same price? If you want a good description of torture, imagine being locked in a room having to watch this over and over without any chance of escape! A fate worse than death! Sadly this doesn't even manage to be unintentionally amusing, it's just despicable. Do your best to avoid this one.