Blood Punch is a horror comedy that’s light on bloodshed and any scares. So maybe it’s best just to label it as a comedy. Then again, you’ve got an isolated cabin in the middle of the woods, a high (albeit unusual) bodycount, and some supernatural shenanigans. So we’ll still call it a horror comedy . . . . . . . . . with some nice neo-noir ingredients thrown in.
Milo Cawthorne plays Milton, a young man who has been persuaded by the beautiful Skyler (Olivia Tennet) to cook up one huge batch of meth and help them score the payday of their lives. Unfortunately, the whole thing is being masterminded by Russell (Ari Boyland), a grade-A douchebag who happens to be a) Skyler’s boyfriend and b) evil and dangerous in equal measure. Milton just wants to do his bit and get away with his share of the cash, or at least his life intact. But it’s a lot harder to escape from the cabin than it would first appear. Not just for Milton. Skyler and Russell can’t seem to get away either. And it may take them a while to figure out just what the hell is going on.
Essentially a three-hander for most of its runtime, Blood Punch benefits from three very different, yet equally appropriate, performances from the three leads. Cawthorne is all nervy nerdiness, but develops strength as the film progresses. Tennet is constantly smouldering, a fantastic femme fatale to rank alongside many classic examples. And Boyland is hilariously over the top.
The fact that the performances work so well makes it all the more unfortunate that the script lets them down somewhat. Considering the great potential of the premise (I’m trying to avoid spoilers here but let me just say that I’d love to see this concept adapted for a slasher flick, for example), there are too few scenes that provide the fun that should have been front and centre for most of the movie. A number of scenes do stand out, either due to the comedy element or the way it reminds you of a bigger, darker picture, but a number of scenes also fall completely flat. And the third act features a number of moments that are depressingly redundant by the time we get to the proper ending.
Director Madellaine Paxson and writer Eddie Guzelian can share the praise and blame. They do well within their limitations, but end up making most of their mistakes whenever they try to add more characters and/or move away from the one central location. Cut this down by about 15 minutes and you have a hugely entertaining directorial debut. Thankfully, it’s still a lot of fun as it is, despite slightly overstaying its welcome.
DIRECTOR: MADELLAINE PAXSON
WRITER: EDDIE GUZELIAN
STARS: MILO CAWTHORNE, OLIVIA TENNET, ARI BOYLAND
RUNTIME: 104 MINS APPROX