[review by JA Kerswell]
|The cast and crew making a short horror movie find themselves stalked by a killer wearing the same garb - eventually - in BLOODY CRAYONS.|
BLOODY CRAYONS is a wildly uneven slasher movie from the Philipines. A group of college friends head to a remote island to make a short horror movie, but end up dying one-by-one when they are stalked by someone dressed as the killer from the film they are making. Well shot and with good production values, it is a tad overlong - but the sheer, glorious ridiculousness of the last half an hour makes it worth sticking around until the bitter end.
Olivia (Jane Oineza) has a long-neglected family summer house on an island that needs a boat to reach it. Along for the trip are your usual slasher stereotypes from the ditzy Rich (Maris Racal) to the incessant joker Justin (Yves Flores), to Olivia’s nice girl best friend Eunice (Janella Salvador). They are joined by a brooding new guy called John (Ronnie Alonte). Arriving on the island they strip to swimming costumes and slo-mo splash water at each other - which seems to be a requisite requirement for an island-set Southeast Asian slasher movie.
|The group play the Bloody Crayons game - with disastrous effects.|
Olivia scolds the local caretaker, Pedring (Nanding Josef), for not clearing away the animal traps that litter the island - and he agrees to make them all safe. Then she becomes upset after she discovers that her ex-boyfriend, Kenly (Diego Loyzaga), is now dating her friend Marie (Sofia Andres). Despite flying into a violent rage, Olivia seemingly gets over it the following day in time for filming. However, when a rainstorm interrupts the shoot they return to the house and play Bloody Crayons. A type of truth-or-dare game where the loser has to drink from the ‘bloody mug’, which is filled with a concoction of liquids from the kitchen. It starts amiably enough but descends into recriminations and anger. In an attempt to end the game, one of the group chugs from the ‘bloody mug’, only to collapse dead. Clearly a poisoning, they quickly come to the realisation that one of the group must be responsible and point the finger at each other. After another death, paranoia rages and the remaining number find themselves locked in the house with no obvious means of escape. Not only are they in danger from each other, but a masked killer also lurks in the basement …
BLOODY CRAYONS is a somewhat frustrating viewing experience. Although the cast is largely likeable, far too much time is spent with the preamble. Character building is all well and good, but most of the characters are largely one-note so there isn’t much to build. It takes ages to get to the thriller aspects, with the first onscreen death not occurring until the 50-minute mark - and the masked killer doesn't appear until nearly 80 minutes into the movie! A shame, because the killer - dressed in a widow’s black lace robes and with a white mask - is pretty creepy looking. The excellent cat-and-mouse chase scenes in the basement only go to highlight what’s missing from the first half of the film.
|BLOODY CRAYONS has a creepy looking killer - just a shame they show up so late into the proceedings.|
Although probably a negative for many, where the film excels is its sheer nuttiness once it finally gets going. Fans of gloriously daft slashers will find plenty to dine out on here. The killer’s motive is a divinely stupid overreaction. As are the extreme reactions of the characters who were best friends one minute and go to great lengths to try and kill each other the next in an effort to unmask the actual killer. Two of my favourite moments of utter ludicrousness were the two characters not immediately questioning how one of their group could have survived what should have been certain death - and the other is when the killer is pursuing the film’s Final Girl in the fog and can’t see her even though she’s crouching next to them (yet seconds later can see her six feet away!). But the scene that takes the biscuit is the one where one of the group challenges the others to sniff his fingers to prove his alibi that he had really just taken a shit (!).
BLOODY CRAYONS was adapted from the novel by Josh Argonza that was published on the Wattpad portal. It had a rather convoluted trip to the screen. Development began in April 2015, but filming was halted during production after the original director left and the project went through numerous cast changes. It was eventually released in July 2017 to cinema screens in the Philipines. A slasher movie is something of an anomaly for Filipino horror cinema - which typically features overt supernatural elements from local folklore. However, JP Abellera, from the film’s production house did recall that some of the cast and crew saw a female ghost in the kitchen of the house where they shot the movie.
If you can get through the largely uneventful, although not unwatchable, first half of BLOODY CRAYONS, there are some cheesy delights to be found for those who stay the distance.
BLOODY CRAYONS is currently available to rent on Amazon Prime in certain territories.
female: 4 / male: 7
1) Male stabbed in the stomach
2) Female stabbed in the neck
3) Female poisoned
4) Male found with throat cut
5) Male shot (flashback)
6) Male dies in fall downstairs
7) Female dies in fall downstairs
8) Male has throat slit
9) Male stabbed to death
10) Male killed in animal trap (off screen)
11) Female falls to her death
Thank you for reading! And, if you've enjoyed this review, please consider a donation to help keep Hysteria Lives! alive! Donate now with Paypal.