Blood Trails Review

Poster Art Country : USA
Year: 2007
Genre: Slasher
Format: Video
Running Time: 87 minutes
Distributor: Abnormal Pictures/Lionsgate

A young woman who has recently cheated on her boyfriend resolves to treat him to a romantic weekend in the mountains, unaware that her sins are about to catch up with her in murderous fashion as her one-night stand is not so ready to break off the relationship....

Directed by Robert Krause. Written by Roberts Krause, Florian Puchert and Kai Schneppel. Starring Rebecca Palmer, Ben Price and Tom Frederic.

Taking a nod from recent "survival" flick fare as Wolf Creek and Haute Tension, Robert Krause's tight little slasher indie Blood Trails also manages to borrow from Neil Marshall's The Descent in terms of visual styings and caustic use of the great outdoors. Having won considerable accolades following its 2006 German cinematic debut, the film has been picked up by Lionsgate for a U.S./U.K. video release.

The tale follows Anne (Rebecca Palmer), a young bicycle enthusiast who, following a frightful one-night-stand affair with an anonymous bicyclist who'd ridden alongside her in the city, has decided to accompany her boyfriend Michael (Tom Frederic) for a weekend in the mountains, apparently to erase the guilt for her clandestine transgression. Once they arrive at the cabin and decide the go mountain-biking, the tale takes a dark turn, especially after the couple opt to ignore "Do Not Enter" signs and ride into a perilous area. That's when fate catches up to them.

Rebecca Palmer and Tom Frederic star in BLOOD TRAILS.

Of course the irony is that the danger lies not in the mountainous terrain itself, but in the murderous hands of the very guy Anne had hooked up with in the city and who has followed the couple out to the mountains to take re-claim Anne as his own. It's not long before Michael's throat is slashed by the violent stoic, and various bystanders Anne encounters as she attempts to flee also meet grisly ends.

Although the film appears to have been shot in Germany, there are no specific references to cities or locations. The principals all speak with American accents, although that is somewhat incidental. Krause bombards his audio track with an industrial score by one Ben Bartlett, largely to surprising efficacy, given the rural surroundings of the lion's share of the picture. And the body count, while rather low, certainly doesn't skimp on graphic detail. With severed jugulars, vivisected loggers and post-morten crucifixion on the menu, Blood Trails will whet most gore-lovers' appetites.

Rebecca Palmer screams in terror in BLOOD TRAILS.

A minor quibble would be the sheer simplicity of the story. At the end of the day, it's a survival tale between the plucky Anne and the deranged killer (Ben Price). Early in the film we are led to believe that he is actually a policeman, which might explain his know-how in anticipating his prey's moves and frequently turning up ahead of her, blocking one escape path after another. The woodsy locale and overcast color scheme achieve a surreal eerieness, to be sure. So much so that it seems like much opportunity to take advantage of these pluses has been wasted on a simple sicko-stalks-lass premise.

Ralk Noack's cinematography is frequently at odd angles and wrought with staccato cutting, making good use of the 2.35:1 widescreen frame. And director Krause knows how to maximize the suspense element with a simple "which tree is he behind" quiet woods sequence. Blood Trails might be a bit over-praised in some circles, but that shouldn't dissuade you from making trails of your own to the local rental outlet and checking it out.


Review by Petch Lucas, for Pitofhorror.com

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