One look at the still next to this introduction will tell you enough: Blood Trails definitely gives you what the title promises: an huge trail of blood.
But does the movie itself manage to deliver more than fake red substance?
Anne and Michael are planning on having a nice weekend in the mountains. All they need is fresh air and two mountainbikes and their relationship will get stronger again. Or will it?
You see, Anne had a one-night-stand with this weird guy a couple of nights ago and, wouldn’t you know it, suddenly he pops up again in the middle of nowhere and with an excellently planned bike manoeuvre manages to slash Michael’s throat.
And that’s where the trail of blood really begins…
Blood Trails sadly is a mixed bunch: occasionally it manages to deliver exceptionally well, whereas some plot twists are so incredibly you start to lose interest.
I had huge problems with the following scenes: the mountain range is – according to the film – huge, so how is it possible that Chris always manages to track Anne down? Also, ever fallen in a pool of water? Then you’ll know you’ll probably have lost some items when you pop your head up again. Anne manages to fall down a waterfall with her mountainbike and seems to find her bike again immediately.
Without wanting to reveal spoilers, when Chris kills Michael the body disappears. The first person Anne encounters complains about his mobile network: “The only one who has any range over here, is the son of God up there”, pointing to a giant cross on a mountain top. A few scenes later, Anne tries to call the emergency number from the hilltop when, after two minutes, there suddenly falls a drop of blood on top of her. Now, guess what happened to Michael’s body…
Was that one ‘shocking’ scene worth all the build-up? No, not the way it has been delivered. Had the screenplay been built up differently the scene would’ve worked better, but now you just felt it coming ages ago.
This is not the only time Blood Trails has problems with building up a scene: the climax – and no I will not reveal any spoiler, didn’t you believe me the first time? – is built up greatly from the moment we’re inside the cabin.
But then it fails to deliver on almost every level. The dialogue is unpolished (been watching bad S&M movies, have we, Mr Krause?), the setup loses belief with every scene and this sadly continues right up to the end.
The only thing you keep realizing towards the end of the movie is that Rebecca Palmer is a good actress and that Robert Krause shows signs of being able to direct excellent scenes (they’ll have to come in better movies than this). Krause won a couple of prizes with his first short, Der Sieg, and some scenes in Blood Trails indicate that those were well-deserved awards.
One of the huge advantages of this movie is that Palmer looks good with lots of blood over her body. And while we’re dishing out compliments: the real star of the movie is Valerija Korez, Palmer’s stunt double, who has to perform quite a bunch of painful stunts.
While we’re focusing on the bad points of the movie, let me quickly point out that I found the MTV style quite irritating. More often than not, the movie doesn’t benefit from this sketchy and neurotic cutting. Especially, because Krause shows in other scenes, he’s good at building up.
I can only imagine that it’s due to a small budget the quick cutting had to be inserted from time to time. A pity.
Definitely a good thing about the movie is that it’s so universal: the movie is shot in Germany and Austria, but the leads are British and nowhere does the movie look like a co-production.
Kudos, by the way, to the people responsible for the location scouting. The movie benefits from the beautiful surroundings.
Blood Trails is a movie about a psycho chasing a girl because he likes to hunt his game. Everyone she comes in contact with will be killed and the hunt will go on. Sounds like classic horror, but maybe this wanted to be a bit too much like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
Despite good performances and signs of great directing, too many scenes fall flat on their arse.
The result is a mixed bag: Blood Trails is a movie you can watch if there’s nothing else interesting at your local cinema or in your DVD store, but it’s by no means a must-see movie.
And how much do we rate mixed bags? That’s right, 5/10.
(originally reviewed: March 2007)