[REVIEW] BLOOD PARADISE | A CURE FOR WRITER'S BLOCK
Director: Patrick von Barkenberg
Writers: Andréa Winter, Patrick von Barkenberg
1 HOURS 24 MINUTES
REVIEWED BY JEREMIAH
Now here’s a film that knows how to have a good time. From its opening act to its closing moments, Blood Paradise somehow manages to stay both tightly wound, and loose as a goose. Kudos to Director Patrick Von Barkenberg who pulls off a darkly comedic balancing act.
Reeling after her latest novel flops, a best-selling crime writer is sent by her publisher to the Swedish countryside to regain inspiration. Totally out of place in her new surroundings, she discovers just how dangerous farm life can be.
I already mentioned the film’s sardonic tongue-in-cheek sensibility, but another one of its strengths rests in it’s characterization, with Andrea Winters and Christer Cavallius specifically turning in performances that bring their characters to life. Both Robin and Hans respectively, stand juxtaposed as well developed caricatures—the priss and the perv. It's in that personality gulf where Blood Paradise finds its best successes, comedically speaking anyway. The two play so awkwardly well off (and against) each other that I wish more focus lay on their dissonant relationship and less on the surrounding circumstances which bring them together.
Unfortunately, those circumstances are the weakest parts of Blood Paradise. The not so subtle indication that everyone living on this farmland is a weirdo is one thing, but to have any narrative derivation that concludes with, "and they're murderers!" is something else entirely. I mean, I get it—that's the point, right? The horror of not only feeling out your element, but also of trying not to die in your new one. This is a horror film on some level afterall. But other than a tendency towards speaking softly, or perhaps inappropriate bathroom etiquette, these country yokels don't give off any actual indication that they are in the business of bludgeoning. And no, cracking, stripping, and dressing chickens doesn't count.
Had we some clues that were a little more overt, perhaps a visual gag or two to tip us off (think nefarious deeds being carried out in view of us—the audience, and out of view of our unsuspecting author), then I'd have had no problem buying what happens in the final 30 minutes or so.
Even so, given my hangups with the film's logic, my actual enjoyment of the proceedings was barely affected. I was simply having too much fun watching this poor girl run around aimlessly, burdened with writer's block, and placed in some rather precarious situations over and over again. Yeah, I'm kind of a shit head that way.
Confusing as this may sound, I think I may have liked Blood Paradise more, because I liked this more than I thought I would.
No, yeah, actually I'm sure of it.
Blood Paradise was a nice surprise. The trailer gave off a darker, lynchian vibe, but in all honesty this movie is mostly smiles and winks. Plenty of intentionally uncomfortable moments structured with intentionally stilted dialog and off-beat juvenile humor. It's barely a horror film. Blood Paradise is more Der Bunker (another Artsploitation curio) and less Misery. But that's cool; certainly refreshing anyway. It has its share of problems (mainly an out-of-left-field anticlimactic third act), but I'm definitely happy I had the opportunity to review this.
Artsploitation definitely has a type.