Wednesday, May 4, 2011

DVD REVIEW: Blood Oath (2007)

Release Date: May 10th 2011 

LABEL: Troma
RATING: Unrated
DURATION: 75 mins
VIDEO: 1.78:1 Letterboxed Widescreen
AUDIO: English Dolby Digital 2.0
DIRECTOR: David Buchert

CAST: Sarah Bloodworth, Enrique Camacho, Jessica Cardinale, Natalie Hart, Patrick Holt, Roger Horn, Tina Krause, Jamie Reynolds, Angela Schmidt, Tiffany Shepis, Katie Vaughan
TAGLINE: Last Night She Fought To Stay Alive, Today She'll Wish She Were Dead

SYNOPSIS: Mr. And Mrs. Krupp wanted nothing more than a healthy child. After several failed attempts they contacted a mysterious woman who promised them a child for a price. Now the offspring roams the woods as an urban legend, twisted and evil, living off the bodies of those who enter its sanctuary. Today a group of friends on a weekend camping trip decide to investigate the story. The trip will change the lives of everyone in the group. They will have to fight to stay alive, but they will soon pray for death!

FILM: The legend goes that the Krupp couple had trouble conceiving a child naturally. Opting to go the supernatural route they  enlist the help of a witch whom tells them to place a drop of each others blood in a vial and bury beneath a centuries old tree. Sure 'nuff the couple give birth to twin girls but when the witch returns demanding the sacrifice of one of the children the Krupps refuse and tragedy ensues. A car crash takes the lives of both parents and while one of the twins escapes uninjured the other is burned and disfigured. It's said that the disfigured twin dragged the bodies of the deceased parents to a  home in the woods while the other twin was discovered and adopted. The story continues that the disfigured twin survives to this day killing anyone unlucky enough to happen upon the dilapidated cabin in the woods.

So what we have here is your tried and true cabin in the woods slasher film. The film starts with a nice prologue featuring b-movie scream queen Tiffany Shepis as Janet, a nubile young woman parked in the woods with a young man who clearly doesn't deserve to be parked in a car with Tiffany Shepis. This sexy young woman is felating him when jerky gets a call from the ex and answers the phone, WTF! He gets outta the car and is trying to convince the ex not to trash his Misfits albums when our killer chops off his head with a gnarly looking bladed weapon. The kill is truly awful, it's the worst kind of micro-budgeted CGI. Shepis' character is up next and takes the blade to the stomach, and it's 100% practical with lotsa blood and makes up slightly for the first kill. It's a typical Troma antic that Tiffany Shepis gets top billing and is dead with a handful of moments. It's quality not quantity, right folks?

Sometime later two young couples are out and about in the wilderness looking for the fabled Krupp cabin. For a low-budgeted slasher there a good bit of character development going on here as the two couples make their way through the woods. While the acting is definitely amateur hour the troupe are a spirited bunch and don't spoil the film though it's occasionally annoying. The two best performances come from scream queens Tiffany Shepis and Tina Krause who m only appear in very brief stunt-cameos.

The gore aside from the aforementioned decapitation is pretty good and for the most part old school practical which is always appreciated, it's a blood spattered production that should please splatter fiends. There's so much blood in fact that some of the blood was administered with a super-soaker, no kidding. My favorite death being a particularly gruesome punch through the a young woman's face. As the killer extracts it's hand from the crushed face bits o' brain and gore squeeze through the fingers, sweet.

The killer definitely takes some cues from Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) with a bit of a Sleepaway Camp (1983) twist and is a menacing figure aside wearing a rather silly outfit, very corny. Our final girl Lisa (played by Natalie Hart) reminded me a bit of Anna Faris here and is pretty cute and comes armed with some decent acting chops but the story is pretty standard and despite some promising visuals and gore effects the film is a pretty standard backwoods slasher with a few small twists that kick it up a notch.

DVD: Blood Oath (2007) is presented in it's original 1.78:1 aspect ratio in letterboxed widescreen. Not the prettiest low-budget feature you'll ever see, it's a bit uneven, the black levels are pretty shallow and it's not the sharpest tool in the shed either. That said the colors are fairly vibrant and it's quite watchable. The English language Dolby Digital 2.0 audio fares slightly better with clear dialogue and effects and a very good score that compliments the film. No subtitles options are offered.

We get a nice array of special features beginning with a director's commentary track which was pretty typical. The Behind-the-Scenes Featurette runs 38 mins and covers a lot of ground. Tons of behind-the-scene stuff, it's a nifty production diary. Along those same lines is the Special Effects Behind-the-Scenes Featurette that covers several of the films better make-up and special effects shots. A trailer, storyboards and the usual array of Tromatic Extras round out this well stocked disc.

- Introduction by Debbie Rochon and Lloyd Kaufmann (2:15)
- Commentary by Director David Buchert
- Behind-the-Scenes Featurette (38:20)
- Special Effects Behind-the-Scenes Featurette (6:17)
- Outtakes (6:11)
- Storyboard Slideshow (12:23)
- Trailer (1:48)

- A Message from To Hayward (1:38)
- What's Wrong with a Mosque? (1:38)
- Lloyd Kaufman's Guide to Conventions (6:14)
- Have Your Own Damn Base of Power (11:49)

VERDICT: Micro-budget slashers are a dime a dozen, there's tons of 'em out there and it's hard to distinguish yourself from the pack. Buchert hasn't re-invented the slasher here but he's crafted a bloody stalk n' slash indie feature with a few twists that despite some nice flourishes and much appreciated gratuitous nudity is fairly standard low-budget fare. 
2 outta 5