This German lensed backwoods slasher flick (naturally pretending to be American) rarely delivers on the thrills so associated with the subgenre, but is jam-packed with head-slapping stupidity and unintentional laughs. Quite how it won the audience award at a leading horror film festival is anyone's guess.
The paper thin story revolves around Anne (Rebecca R. Palmer), a bike courier with a face like a slapped arse and a personality to match. Her grumpy demeanour can be somewhat explained by the fact that she is pulled over by a handsome traffic cop, Chris (Ben Price). Rather than give her a ticket, he writes his telephone number on her arm with a marker pen. Obviously, this isn't a romantic drama, and we see a brief session of sado-masochistic sex where Anne is (presumbly) humiliated by Chris. Enter Michael (Tom Frederic), Anne's estranged boyfriend. To try and relieve her depression - and to rekindle their romance - he suggests they go back to the mountains for a biking holiday. After much sulleness she agrees.
If I was a bike courier the last thing I would want to do is cycle up mountain for fun, but this busman's holiday seems to bring a smile to Anne's face. Well, briefly that is - and then it's back to wasp chewing. She soon begins to suspect that her and Michael might not be as alone in the great outdoors as they first thought ...
Once again, BLOOD TRAILS is one of those films where the camera isn't mounted on a tripod - rather a numatic drill. Fast zooms, close crops and an excess of shaky camera work (even when nothing much is going on), will either induce sea-sickness or a headache (or both). It almost makes you long for the directors of yore who would turn the camera on and just leave it there as people wandered in and out of shot. I wonder if Andy Warhol ever considered making a slasher movie?
However, it's the inherent stupidity of the central character that'll have you either reaching for the off switch or throwing your empty tins at the screen. It's not giving much away that the killer in the film is the traffic cop - partly because the film makers make no attempt ot hide this fact (despite him wearing a creepy crash helmet later in the film, which could have least given the film a mystery lifeline it so sorely needs) and he shows his true colours within 20 minutes of the start. The majority of the film is taken up with Anne trying to get away Chris. This she does by jumping on her bike and cycling away at full tilt, screaming to the heavens (something that got right on my tits after a while). She uses her bike even when she has the opportunity to jump in a truck and run the fucker over! After that, you can't help feel she deserves whatever is coming to her. Anne's rampant dim-wittedness reaches its absolute nadir when, climbing to a peak marked by a massive crucifix, she manges to get reception on her mobile. Speaking to mountain rescue, and trying to pin-point her position, she neglects to tell them she's sitting under a sodding, great 20ft cross!
In addition to her dumbness, Anne is like the Harold Lloyd of slasher movies. Hearing the sound of a chain saw she cycles hell-for-leather for it (rather than away from it, as most sensible people would), she gets crushed by a falling tree felled by some workman. Now, what are the chances of that happening? Despite being flattened by tons of pine she doesn't seem too sqaushed, and is helped by the seeminly mute workmen (their silence, presumably, because their heavy Germanic tones would give the game away that this isn't an American movie afterall).
Both Anne and Michael are played by Brits, as is the movie's villain. Ben Price is a fine actor, but his smooth talking lothario (with added dimple) is never threatening. This could be partly because Price is better known as the polysexual soccer player ("Man, woman - banana!") in the camptastic drama Footballer's Wives. He does, however, seem to have inherited the superhuman powers of Jason or Michael Myers, and survives being run over by a truck with nary a scratch. He also manages the precision move, which, incredibly whips out the larynx of one character with just his bike wheel!
At least BLOOD TRAILS has a nice splattering of the red stuff, and cant help have a modicum of slasher movie peekaboo thrills in the backwoods setting. However, this really isn't enough. A paper thin plot, uninvolving characters, epileptic camerwork, a migraine enducing soundtrack, a surprise free 'climax' and a vein of head-slapping stupidity the size of the grand canyon conspire to make a less than enticing brew. Perhaps, in 20 years this'll be a cheesy treat, but now it's best left to moulder in the bargain bins.
female:0 / male:7
1) Male has throat slit with icycle wheel (!)
2) Male is stabbed with hunting knife
3) Male killed with axe
4) Male killed with axe
5) Male shot (off screen)
6) Male shot (off screen)
7) Male has shard of glass pushed through his neck