Blood of the Beast 2004 Horror Movie Review
Horror movies Review
Not to be confused with 1958’s Night of the Blood Beast, Blood of the Beast is a low-budget, independent horror film that dares to be different. The result, in my opinion, is an artistic mish-mash that proves tedious in its over-pursuit of the avant-garde. Not content to develop a unifying vision for the whole, director Georg Koszulinski employs different visual techniques as the movie evolves. I just think he tried too hard, and the resulting lack of consistency diminishes the viewing experience.
The 67-minute film opens up with about ten minutes of stock footage from the two World Wars as the narrator brings us up to speed on the Third World War and the devastating impact it had on humanity. With chemical weapons unleashed by both sides, the resulting draw reduced the globe’s human population by a cool three billion souls and left 98% of Earth’s surviving males sterile. In order to propagate the species, scientists turned to cloning and seemed to enjoy remarkable success with their efforts. Until, that is, the first strands reached the age of nineteen and a little flaw in their genetic code began turning them into, for lack of a better word, zombies. The film basically centers on two different groups of people. First, we have a trio of teenagers who were out hiking when the first strand mutation kicked in; they don’t understand why a stranger ran up and sank his teeth into one guy’s arm until they manage to be rescued by some of their friends. This whole group of people ends up running for their lives as the night closes in. On the flip side, we have a father and teenaged daughter holed up in a farmhouse with the Reverend, who has plenty to say on the subject of the unnatural clones and the apocalyptic scenario their creation has now wrought.
The story itself, as you can see, is rather pedestrian (with obvious similarities to Night of the Living Dead). The cinematography, on the other hand, is anything but pedestrian. Whenever anything actually happens to a character, the viewer’s senses are bombarded with constantly fleeting images, including plenty of negatives (as in black and white turned inside out), all of it layered with murky visuals and artificial film defects (such as you would see at the start of old-timey film reels) - needless to say, it’s very difficult to actually see whatever is taking place on the screen. This lasts up until the last fifteen minutes or so of the film. Those final segments are shot in the style of ye olde silent film, complete with place cards rather than actual dialogue by the actors. Things really turn artsy-fartsy here, with symbology coming to the forefront. We see, for example, a number of shots of cows staring at the camera - personally, I have no idea what that meant, but I can only assume it meant something. I can’t help but think Koszulinski must have watched The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari right before filming began, as this final portion of the film seemed quite evocative of early German impressionism. I, frankly, got tired of it before the end. The cinematography as a whole just didn’t work for me because the director’s efforts in this regard seemed too obvious. Certainly, one must credit Koszulinski for his attempt to present the viewer with something different, but this film just lacks the subtlety to pull the whole thing off. In other words, it looks and feels at all times like a student film. Blood of the Beast is this director’s first effort, however. As he further develops his talents and refines his own true vision, Koszulinski has the potential to give us a film that will make him the talk of the town - or, at the very least, the underground.