Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Madellaine Paxson's Blood Punch

Cody watches meth cookers have a bad day over and over in a horror/thriller that is now available on DVD and VOD.

Nearly twenty years into an entertainment career that has consisted largely of writing for cartoon television series like Hercules, The Legend of Tarzan, Kim Possible, and Lilo & Stitch, Madellaine Paxson has made her directorial debut with a horror/thriller that is far removed from those earlier works.

The screenplay for Paxson's Blood Punch comes from Eddie Guzelian, another cartoon veteran whose path crossed with Paxson's on a few of those projects. Here, Guzelian has gone from writing for such characters as Ariel the Little Mermaid, Buzz Lightyear, Cinderella, and Winnie the Pooh to writing about murder, mind games, mayhem, and meth.

Milo Cawthorne stars as Milton, a young college chemistry student who's serving time in a rehab facility for operating a meth lab on campus. When Skyler (Olivia Tennet) arrives at the facility, Milton is instantly smitten, and Skyler is very interested in him. She's not here to be rehabilitated, she's here to find the best meth cooker available, and that's Milton. As soon as she has recruited him to help her, her boyfriend Russell (Ari Boyland), a man Skyler describes as the devil himself, shows up and violently removes them from custody.

The couple takes Milton to a remote cabin in the woods, where they're going to run a meth lab for one day only, cooking a hundred pounds of pharmaceuticals into illegal product.

As you would expect, especially with someone referred to as the devil in the mix, things do not go smoothly at the cabin. In fact, things get very strange. Characters turn on each other, get killed or horribly injured... And then wake up alive and completely intact again the next day. The people at the cabin live out the same day over and over, no matter how they change the events.

Is the trio just tripping out on all the drugs they have at their disposal, or have they really entered the most bizarre and deadly time loop since Timecrimes and Triangle?

Blood Punch has its own, unique tone and style, but it is a variation of the same story those films had. It's familiar ground, but I was still intrigued by the concept because I was interested in seeing how Guzelian and Paxson were going to explain and resolve the time loop they had created.

This is largely carried on the shoulders of three characters, and luckily those characters are brought to life by three actors who do fantastic work in the roles. Cawthorne and Tennet play off of each other well, and apparently went on to get married sometime after production wrapped. I would say Tennet is a revelation who shows promise of having a bright career ahead, but she already had a role in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, so I'm actually just late to the party, she was already discovered by Peter Jackson.

The film's biggest flaw is its 105 minute running time. The first half starts to drag as the story gets to the time loop twist too slowly, and as much as the second half tries to be a fast-paced, action-packed, entertaining ride, it was a ride I was ready to get off of well before reaching the end credits.

Despite running long, Blood Punch is a fun bit of insanity that's worth giving a look.

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