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Cold Blood

Directed by Brian Avenet-Bradley

Written by Brian Avenet-Bradley

Starring Barnes Walker III, Carrie Walrond, John L. Altom

Produced by Laurence Avenet-Bradley

Not Rated

80 minutes

****

It’s a bit out of sequence, but this is Brian Avenet-Bradley’s first film. Longtime readers will remember my “Ghost of the Needle” coverage about a month back, and now, thanks to Heretic Films’ recent rerelease, Brian Avenet-Bradley’s first film is back in video stores.

And man…is it ever a winner.

“Cold Blood” is the…well…let’s face it, downright chilling story of a man who murders his wife in a fit of insane, homicidal rage.

And yet, strangely, he’s still in love with her. He even goes so far as to wash the blood off her face after braining her with a baseball bat. The man actually cleans up the crime scene himself, down to the coffee mug spilled and broken when she fell after getting hit with the bat.

In a quick fifteen second montage, we discover that she’s been cheating on him (actually, he caught her in bed with the other man!), and this is why he gave her a Louisville divorce.

No one actually knows he did it. He’s free, and uncaught, no trouble there. But naturally, he’s feeling pretty guilty about what he’s done, and thus packs up to go to the family farm.

Interestingly enough, that’s where our boy J.M. (the wifekiller) married our girl Andrea (the cuckolding wife).

Oh, yeah…did I mention that he goes back to the farm almost one year to the day after marrying her?

This can’t end well.

Now, the sequence just ahead of the seven minute mark, where JM tries to get Andrea’s corpse out of the building without anyone noticing is just fantastically well done. This is a full minute of the most creative and tautly plotted suspense I have seen in a long time. Incredible stuff, really.

There are, to be sure, some positively chilling stretches in “Cold Blood.” Lots of shadows moving for no reason and upon investigation have no causes. JM gets frequently shocking discoveries of random people just suddenly cropping up in and around the farmhouse he took up residence in.

And the plot just becomes more and more complex with every passing minute, putting an enormous onus on the ending to manage to tie up so very many loose ends. Murder, blackmail, any of a dozen other crimes crop up in a thriller that is easily the rival of any of the greats. There are a great many harrowing sequences where he is very nearly caught, or even IS caught, red-handed in his crimes, and only quick thinking (or worse) on Jim’s part.

In fact, given the slate of recent releases from Heretic Films, this is easily the best I’ve seen from them.

The ending is one long string of surprises that actually manages to wrap up all of the loose ends, which is a daunting task in itself given the depth of the plot.

The special features include a making of featurette, deleted scenes, cast and crew bios, a featurette revolving around the music behind the story, Brian Avenet-Bradley’s commentary, French and English subtitles, and a trailer for “Cold Blood.”

All in all, “Cold Blood” is the shining star in Heretic Films’ lineup—easily their best. It’s also the best thing Brian Avenet-Bradley has ever done, not to slight his other work, but this one’s just fantastic.

Steve Anderson is a film critic who collects action figures so he can dress them up as his favorite horror villains. He lives somewhere in the United States.


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