Monday, November 26, 2012

Wrong Turn: Bloodlines

Description from Netflix:
The local authorities already have their hands full with the legendary Mountain Man festival on Halloween, but they're in for some real trouble when a family of inbred cannibals feats on a group of college students.

Notable actors: Doug Bradley

My thoughts:
As near as I can tell, this movie took place after the events of part 4, but before the events of part 1.  The events at the hospital from part 4 are referenced (albeit clumsily).  We find the family of cannibals being taught in the art of killing by a calm psychopath by the name of Maynard (played by Doug Bradley, aka "Pinhead".  It should be noted that this makes the second movie with "Bloodline" in the title, the first being 1996's Hellraiser: Bloodline).

Bradley was terrible in this.  He didn't so much chew through his lines as much as he grabbed the lines, gnawed on them for a long time, spit them out, gnawed on them some more, then left their bloody remains strewn across the floor.  In a movie full of terrible acting, it takes a remarkable effort to stand head-and-shoulders against the rest.  And yet, that's what Bradley did here.  I realize that he didn't have much to work with, and playing it over the top was his best option.  But it just didn't work.  It was awful.  He was a one-note character who did absolutely nothing with that note.

Moving on from my Doug Bradley hate-fest.
The movie pretty much follows the same formula, with some slight changes.  Teenagers are terrorized/tortured/murdered by a family of inbred cannibals in the hills of West Virginia.  They try to get away.  Most of them don't, and they die in gruesome ways.

None of the teenagers were overly obnoxious, which was nice.  There wasn't much to them (this wasn't exactly Cold Prey) and I didn't love any of them, but I didn't really hate any of them either, and that's always a welcome change of pace.

There was some strange subplot with a newswoman who was sent to cover this Mountain Man festival (a music festival where everyone dressed up like inbreds.  They reference Burning Man, Coachella & Lollapalooza, which seems fairly close.  Except with lots of people dressed like deformed rednecks).  She went full Phil Connors, left, changed into an outfit eerily reminiscent of April O'Neal, and went running in the woods.

She is shocked by the lack of turtles in this movie

She doesn't return (obviously), and the sound operator has to step in.  It's a big moment for her career.  But who cares?  This story only takes up about 5 minutes of the movie (if that).  It doesn't set anything up, except for the fact that there are some inbred cannibals on the loose.  And it also gives us the title screen.  But that's it.

There were moments in this movie that felt really dirty & mean-spirited.  I have watched all of these movies (for better or worse), and none of them gave me the feeling that this one did.  I would go so far as to label it misogynistic, and I rarely do that with horror movies.  It just felt like they had too many scenes in this movie where the sole purpose of the filmmakers seemed to be, "Let's see how bad we can hurt these women.  Punch her harder in the face.  More violent."
Don't get me wrong, I've watched my share of movies with violence against women (as evidenced by this blog), but this is the first time I've really been uncomfortable watching them.  The women had no chance of escape.  They weren't really setting us up to cheer for any of the girls.  It seemed like they were just torturing these women because they wanted to.
There were also two sex scenes with nudity, and the second one didn't really have any bearing on the movie or the characters.  It was just, "Hey.  Boobs.  Right here."  Not for any reason, and not to set up the character as some kind of harlot who had violated the rules of slasher movies (she was a no-name character who was not killed).  Just to show a girl getting naked and blowing a fat guy.  If the rest of the movie didn't have such a negative vibe about women, I wouldn't have thought twice about this scene.  But it did, so it left me feeling dirty.
Maybe I'm off.  Maybe I'm reading this all wrong.  But that's the feeling I got from this movie, and, by the end, I just couldn't really handle any more.

Needless to say, I did not like this movie.

Rating: 1/5


Emily said...

It's sort of April O'Neil by way of The Bride. I dig it!

But bummer about the icky women hating. I feel like some filmmakers think that they're being bold by blatantly making the female victims get it worse than the men, but it rarely comes off as anything other than misogynist. Surprisingly enough, I think the Hostel series is one of the few modern franchises to get that trick down the right way.

Dusty Evely said...

Yup. Except without much of a character, and one of the first to die.

Honestly, I don't read many films as being misogynistic. I may be generalizing here, but a lot of slashers don't feel that way to me. Sure, there's the nudity/overall objectification of women (specifically the non-final girls), but, in a lot of slashers, the women die in the same fashion as a lot of the men. Being cut-down is the great equalizer in most of these films.
But this one just felt different. The guys would die in terrible ways (having your head run over by a riding mower isn't a pleasant way to shuffle the mortal coil), but their deaths seemed quicker. Violent, but not necessarily as cruel (if that makes sense). The women were punched in the face, eyes gouged out, burned alive, etc.
I guess I can't go too much further without basically repeating what I already said in the post (which I guess I've already done anyway, but whatever). I've seen movies with women tortured/murdered. This one felt more mean-spirited (which seems like an odd thing to say about a low-budget slasher film).

Good point about Hostel. I never really looked at them in that light.

Emily said...

I can totally understand what you mean by 'mean.' I can look at the sequel to the recent Hills Have Eyes film in the same light: men AND women get killed, but the women get it so much worse. In that film, they go a step further: there are two main female characters, and the one who gets brutally raped is also the one with a young child. There's something about how the film makes a point about her being a mother, only to then graphically abuse her, that feels extra calculated.

And yes, I rarely find vintage slashers offensive towards women. I don't think that was ever the intention.

Dusty Evely said...

Right there with you on The Hills Have Eyes 2. That movie was pretty brutal in regards to violence towards women.