Blood Punch

| September 6, 2015

First off, I have no idea why this movie is called Blood Punch.  There is a lot of blood, but very little punching.  Maybe it’s an old esoteric saying that I’m not familiar with and somehow perfectly describes this movie about meth cooks trying to make a big score in the middle of the woods and getting trapped in a time loop so they live out the same day over and over again.  Is that what a blood punch is?

I can’t stress enough how much I enjoyed this movie.  The cover of the DVD and the title make it seem like a horror film, complete with a cabin in the woods.  However,  despite the enormous amount of death and the supernatural element, I can’t categorize this as horror.  I think this is a good thing.  I volunteer to watch a lot of horror movies for filmmonthly because I tend to like the genre about half the time.  Half of all horror movies are either A) genuinely horrifying and clever, or B) intentionally or unintentionally hilarious.  The latter category includes horror movies that are so bad they’re funny and really enjoyable like Birdemic.  The other half of all horror movies are simply boring and not worth anyone’s time.  These boring entries make me want to be more selective with the movies I request to review, but as long as stuff like Blood Punch keeps showing up, I’ll probably keep risking it.

I really enjoy thinking about how the rules of time travel work in various movies, TV shows, and novels, and as long as there’s something unique about each story’s take on time travel, I’ll probably really get into it.  Blood Punch works a lot like Groundhog Day, or Edge of Tomorrow, with our three main characters reliving the same day over and over again, but certain things don’t reset each day.  For example, if one of them dies, the next day their dead body from the previous day will still be there.  Also, if one of them dies, they don’t remember the previous day when everything resets.  These simple rules provide a method of infusing some really interesting dramatic turns into the structure of the story and make the movie incredibly fun to watch and think about.

The film does have a couple of issues.  The performances are good, but not great.  Our hero, Milton (Milo Cawthrone), does a fair job of carrying the movie, but his performance is a bit inconsistent for me.  At times, he seems to be growing and evolving as a character, but then he’ll regress to a sniveling coward again.  It’s not awful, but it could’ve been better.  Milton’s love interest, Skyler (Olivia Tennet), is a pretty fun character, serving as our femme fatale and constantly keeping the audience guessing at her motivations.  She’s definitely the highlight of the movie.  Her boyfriend, ex-cop psychopath Russell (Ari Boyland), is a fairly straightforward archetype of a douche bag, but his relationship with Skyler does create an interesting dynamic, and his love of bullets because bullets never lie is an interestingly unique character trait, so I get on board with him being a relatively flat character too.

My other issue with the film actually did pay off in the end.  The film begins with Milton finding a recording of himself explaining what’s going on and what he needs to do to break out of the time loop.  It’s presumably a really long video, which doesn’t make a lot of sense other than to provide narration for the movie, and it muddies the rules a little bit in terms of what Milton remembers from his previous times living this day.  It’s not unforgiveable.  Again, I really enjoyed this movie and look forward to watching it again soon.

Blood Punch is available now on DVD from Midnight Releasing.

About the Author:

Joe Sanders Joe Sanders is a podcaster, playwright, and college instructor in Kalamazoo, MI. He has a master's degree in playwriting and a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Western Michigan University, where he currently teaches thought and writing, and is the host of the Quote Unquote Guilty podcast, part of the Word Salad Network.
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