WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
As any semi-regular visitor to this blog will know, I’m up for pretty much anything. Extraterrestrial vampire whores, sharktopodes, gay vampires, killer cartoon characters, shit monsters (no really – monsters made out of shit), I’ve seen it all and lived to tell the tale. Even with this experience under my belt, rarely have I encountered a movie as utterly banal as House of Blood (aka Chain Reaction). As often happens I could totally see what they were going for (a kind of The Village meets Triangle meets The Shawshank Redemption kind of vibe), but it was so poorly and unoriginally put together that all you’re left with is this steaming pile of self-righteous movie filled with characters fond of using big words but having no idea what they actually mean. Also, it’s a bit longer than your usual crapfest: at just over 100 minutes, it drags the pain out a lot more than most movies would dare to do.
Douglas Madsen is just a regular doctor who frequently laments the loss of his parents roughly 50 years ago when he was but a wee lad. That is until one day when Fate decides to throw him a curve ball and Douglas lands up with a set of completely different, but somehow interlinked, problems. Going out on his rounds (in a densely wooded area with no people) Douglas finds his car plowing head first into a truck transporting criminals to another prison. After a small shoot out and the brutal death of several policemen the criminals abduct Douglas, thinking that he might be useful in treating one of their own who has been shot. The criminals steal the dead policemen’s clothes and run into the forest to make their escape. Why they didn’t just POSE as policemen in the outfits I don’t understand, but this seems to be the path the director wanted to take.
When the criminals went down to the woods that day they didn’t realise they were in for a big surprise. They thought that the rundown, seemingly abandoned cottage in the middle of the forest with no electricity and hidden by a dense and mysterious fog would be their salvation; shockingly, it wasn’t. In this cozy little cottage that would’ve sent Goldilocks running for her life lives a quaint little family that speaks a dialect of Ye Olde English that would irritate the most hardened of Renaissance Fair goers. Despite the obvious language barrier between the residents’ archaic tongue and the criminals’ constant screams of “shut the fuck up!”, with a little persuasion (at gun point) the family can be rather hospitable and agree, under duress, to help the guys out with their wounded friend.
Alas, all is not as it seems with the mountain-dwelling family. It’s all been perfectly civilised up until one of the criminal’s has to have his arm amputated with a machete. Things go a little awry at this point. In a move that I’m putting down to sheer indecisiveness from the script writers, the family turns out to be a group of undead-zombie-vampire-cannibals, who Douglas has to escape from. This might have been tolerable, but the joke is that this is only half the movie. Douglas does escape, only to find himself in some bizarre loop of consciousness, and the movie decides to repeat itself. The second time around he’s accompanied by a different group of criminals, but it’s essentially just watching the same movie twice with a little tweaking here and there. In summary: no acting skills, no English language proficiency, no shame.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Being shot in the arm usually means that the whole thing has to be amputated.
- ‘Friendly fire’ refers to friends getting together to gun down policemen.
- Statistically there is a one in a billion chance of a doctor crashing into a prisoner transit van.
- Sheep remain remarkably calm whilst you slit their throats with a blunt knife.
- To hell with salt – pour blood over your food, it’s just as tasty.
- You should live your life in such a way that the Count de Sade himself would envy you.
- Sociopathic lusts greatly outweigh psychopathic social obligations.
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