INDIE FILM REVIEW: Bloodstained Romance
“My goal as a filmmaker is to create films that show the horrifying ability of the human will. To me I think that’s the scariest thing in the world because what a person can do when they set their minds to it is far more shocking than a ghost or monster.” Stated indie filmmaker Travis Miller on the Mudd Miller Productions MySpace page. In many ways I have to agree with Miller. Out of all of the various gruesome horror plot scenarios one could find themselves within, those focusing solely around the depraved depths of the human mind are perhaps the most disturbing.
To think that within humanity lies the capability to commit the most horrifyingly atrocious crimes instinctively is truly terrifying. For every horror movie made, there is an actual human being who has committed a crime equally disturbing, if not more so for it is reality and not merely fiction. Why, just last week a man on a bus leaving a carnival in Toronto attacked another man, gutted him, decapitated him and then began to eat him. A completely unprovoked, completely random act of extreme violence that would have fit perfectly into a hardcore slasher film and yet, it was real. Does life imitate art or does art imitate life? Are horror movies merely entertainment or are they, on some level, a grim documentary of our own grave levels of depravity? A question to be pondered...
In Miller’s indie film BLOODSTAINED ROMANCE (a.k.a. SWITCHBLADE DEATH, a.k.a. DEMENTIA RED) we follow a young man by the name of Holden (Chris Burchette), a socially awkward, but dedicated student and RTF major on an anonymous university campus. When Holden’s seemingly innocent crush on a pretty coed by the name of Sadie (Cameron Wright) begins to consume his every waking thought, Holden finds himself spiraling out of control, quickly sinking into a twisted world of bondage, porn and violence. As he stalks her every move, Holden finds himself killing those that ask too many questions in order to maintain the secrecy around this obsession. With each murder, the line between reality and fantasy becomes a little more blurred until he unable to remain at a distance from Sadie any longer.
While BLOODSTAINED ROMANCE definitely has a lot of the distinctive traits of a first, low-budget film, it is safe to say that Miller’s cinematic experiment was a successful one. Though some of the performances by a few actors within the film made me grit my teeth a bit, Burchette’s performance of a psychotic stalker was undeniably realistic and extremely creepy. From the public social awkwardness that made the character appear merely shy at first, to the growing intensity of his brutally violent delusions, Burchette found his footing securely within the character and delivered an excellent debut performance.
The other element of the film, which caught my attention, was the simplicity of the storyline. Many first-time filmmakers, I have noticed, attempt to create convoluted storylines that would be difficult to pull off on screen even for a big budget movie, an error that often leads to the fiery demise of a film. Travis Miller chose to create a script that was simple and concise, a story that was easy to follow with a plot that evolved quickly to keep the viewer engaged. While there were a few scenes that could have benefited from a bit more editing in order to increase their intensity, overall, the story was well designed and to-the-point. Miller establishes the plot within the first few minutes of the film, launching directly into the story without a lot of extraneous side-plots or back-story. He keeps the movie, for the most part, and the viewer focused through the entire film on the main character and his growing obsession, a task that even big-time Hollywood producers often have a hard time achieving.
Overall, for a debut indie horror film, BLOODSTAINED ROMANCE is a definite success for upcoming director Travis Miller. I think this is one director I am going to keep an eye on to see how his next project (currently in the initial stages of creative construction), PANDORA, will turn out. BLOODSTAINED ROMANCE is currently available for download on IndieFlix.com. More information about Travis Miller and Mudd Miller Productions can be found on MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/muddmiller