Blood Relic (2005)
"A voodoo curse has been unleashed... again."
In 1983, a Navy pilot went on a killing spree at his base after finding an ancient talisman and was incarcerated in a psychiatric ward for the rest of his life. But twenty-two years later, he is released and heads back to the site of his old base, which is being turned into an aviation museum by a bunch of young students.
As someone who slogged away at Blockbuster Video in the 2000s, I know first-hand just how bad this decade was for low budget horror films. Gone were the cheesy 80s slashers and pig-bladder effects splatterthons. Did the 90s even have a low-budget horror output to compare to? By the time the millennium rocked up, the genre was back in fashion and the store shelves began to fill up with big-hitting horrors from the decade as well as a whole slew of low budget, direct-to-video micro horrors which wanted to capitalise on the resurgence and lured you in with cool-looking artwork which promised more than they could ever deliver. Blood Relic is the perfect example of that type of film – the bane of my life at the time.
Blood Relic can best be summed up by highlighting that it’s an indie slasher film with a killer in a flight suit, there’s lots of T&A (and I mean lots!) and lots of low budget gore. That’s about to be honest. Let’s face it, films like Blood Relic are common coin in the horror genre, no matter what sub-genre they’re based in. There’s nothing remotely original about them. They’re not even very competently made. They’re just proof that a filmmaker can copy an idea from another filmmaker. Monkey see, monkey do. Where’s the desire to want to stand out from the crowd instead of being just another face? Director J. Christian Ingvordsen had plenty of low budget films under his belt already so there’s no reason why Blood Relic should be such a generic rehash which is unapologetic in its trope cycling and doesn’t really leave a lasting impression.
Not only Blood Relic a generic slasher but it’s a pretty boring one at that. Though the killer does get quite frisky with plenty of weapons of choice, the whole thing is delivered so monotonously and so amateurishly that it’s difficult to keep your attention on the screen in between the kills. The first two thirds of the film, the more traditional slasher parts, work better than the finale which throws in some pointless supernatural elements to confuse matters. The film was working (well in it’s horrible, terrible way) just as well on its own as a standard issue slasher film and didn’t need the hokey pokey mumbo jumbo nonsense. I don’t quite get the cover artwork which depicts some psychotic skull-like madman holding an axe either, though I’m guessing this is something to do with the supernatural slant. Still, the artwork is better than the film so credit where credit’s due to the designers.
Blood Relic was shot at an actual Naval museum so at least the location looks good, even if the bulk of the film is shot in the uninteresting corridors and storerooms in the back area. This is almost as big a waste as Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan being mainly set on board a boat on its way to New York. The gimmicky disguise of the killer, such a staple in the slasher film, is of a Top Gun-style flight suit complete with helmet and is about the only real link to the theme of the museum and there are no suitably themed deaths either to take advantage of the location. Neither the costume, nor the actor inside, is scary or intimidating in the slightest which kind of ruins any attempt to create some suspense or atmosphere whenever they’re on the screen.
Billy Drago stars as the token ‘named’ actor and he acts pretty nuts, even for his standards, chewing the scenery like it was his first meal in weeks. Best known for his portrayal of mob hitman Frank Nitti in The Untouchables, Drago steals the scene whenever he is on screen as the slightly unhinged owner of the museum. Drago’s departure from the film about half-way signals a serious drop in the watchability of the film, which was barely watchable to begin with. Low budget scream queen Debbie Rochon appears as one of the employees but it’s a thinly-written, almost non-existent role which I guess was designed just to get her in the film for a few minutes so they had another 'name' to stick on the poster.
Cheaply made. Tediously paced. Poorly acted. And even given a generic name (though I’m not sure whether the name it was filmed under, Scare Museum, is any less dreadful). The amount of nudity thrown here in an attempt to salvage this wreck should be a dead giveaway as to how woeful Blood Relic is.
Director(s): J. Christian Ingvordsen
Writer(s): Matthew M. Howe (story and screenplay), J. Christian Ingvordsen (story)
Actor(s): Billy Drago, Joshua Park, Jennifer Lauren Grant, Debbie Rochon, Kelly Ray, Jon Christian
Duration: 86 mins