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Blood Vessel

Australia 2019
produced by
Justin Dix, Matthew Graham, Steven Matusko, Steven McKinnon, Nathan Phillips, Corey Trent Ackerman (executive), Jeff Harrison (executive), Brett Thornquest (executive) for Storm Vision Entertainment, Wicked of Oz Studios, Rock Island Films, SunJive Studios
directed by Justin Dix
starring Nathan Phillips, Alyssa Sutherland, Robert Taylor, Christopher Kirby, Alex Cooke, Mark Diaco, John Lloyd Fillingham, Troy Larkin, Vivienne Perry, Ruby Isobel Hall, Steve Young, Jacinta Stapleton, Mackenzie Stephens, Troy Larkin, Dave Hughes, Richard Mueck, Roman Meyer
written by Justin Dix, Jordan Prosser, music by Brian Cachia, special effects supervised by John Sanderson, creature and prosthetic effects supervised by Tristan Lucas/Wicked of Oz Studios

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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Somewhere in the North Atlantic, the final days of World War II: After their hospital ship got bombed by the Germans, Captain Malone (Robert Taylor), nurse Jane (Alyssa Sutherland), and their motley crew of patients - Australian Sinclair (Nathan Phillips), American Bigelow (Mark Diaco), Russian Teplov (Alex Cooke), British Faraday (Mark Diaco), and sole black man Jackson (Christopher Kirby) - float across the sea on a raft, with their rations dwindling down to zero ... and then they come across a German vessel that - well, even falling into the hands of the Germans is better than starving on high sea. But upon trying to sneak aboard, Malone loses his life already. Once on board, our heroes notice the ship abandoned while in perfect working order. Now that should be a moment of joy, instead long suppressed misgivings among the group start to mount: Nobody trusts the Russian, the Brit is disliked because of his arrogance coupled with cowardice, the black man is treated like a second class human despite being the most capable to operate the vessel, and the Yank and Aussie love to play alpha dog a bit too much - and if it wasn't for Jane's continuous interference, the men would be at each other's throats all the time. But there are really more pressing matters on board the ship - like it hasn't really been abandoned, but there are corpses, burnt and/or gnawed on, everywhere. Eventually, our heroes find a little girl, Mya (Ruby Isobel Hall), who only speaks Romanian but everybody takes a liking to her. And then they find a Nazi (Steve Young), who has locked himself into one of the lower decks, but who's ready to give himself up ... until he sees Mya, and he desparately tries to kill her (and kills one of our heroes in the process), and eventually he has to be shot dead.

While exploring the ship, Bigelow finds a sarcophagus and decides to open it to look for riches - and it reveals a strigoi (= a shape-shifting vampire-like demon from East European folklore) (Troy Larkin), who comes to life in a flash and kills Bigelow before reviving his partner in crime and (undead) life (Vivienne Perry) - and suddenly out heroes find themselves as prey in the strigois' feeding frenzy, with Mya actually being the strigois' offspring, amidst them like a cuckoo's egg. And having dealt in a down-to-earth world war, they find themselves ill-prepared to fight supernatural threats ...

 

Now Blood Vessel might not be the reinvention of the vampire genre, but it does what it does very nicely, and that's delivering a fine piece of horror with a good balance of suspense, atmosphere and jump scares, and it makes pretty awesome use of its location, an authentic World War II vessel. And I won't denie it, some parallels to 1986's Aliens are of course obvious, but that's really only up to a point as this film, the longer it goes, really develops legs of its own and veers off into another direction. And ultimately it really delivers in the action and spectacle department with a pretty explosive finale to make this one rather cool genre entertainment.

 

 

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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
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Tales to Chill
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
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starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD