MOVIE REVIEW: Avoid The ‘Blood Moon’ At All Costs

Blood-Moon-Movie-Review

Film: Blood Moon
Starring: George Blagden, Tom Cotcher
Directed By: Jeremy Wooding

Poor direction and lackluster cinematography unravel any potential for fun or scares in Jeremy Wooding’s Blood Moon.

Werewolves are tough. The idea of people who transform into beasts and back again seems like the kind of fodder that would provide material for dozens of great films, but the track record for such creature features is far from something to celebrate. Aside from maybe five films released over the last hundred years, the market for good werewolf horror has essentially been a wasteland of half-cooked ideas and low production values. Blood Moon, to its credit, offers both.

Set in rural Colorado during the glory days of the American west, Blood Moon tells the story of a gunslinger and a stage coach full of strangers who find themselves pitted against a group of ‘Skinwalkers’ in an abandoned mining town. At least, that is what the film promotes itself as being about. The truth is–like far too many direct to DVD horror titles–Blood Moon has a loose plot about werewolves wrapped around a very non-scary, non-entertaining tale of mismatched strangers in the ‘Wild West’ who cannot seem to get along. The film begins and ends with monster action, and there are admittedly a number of attacks littered throughout the film, but the bulk of Blood Moon is a melodramatic snooze-fest that never gives the viewer a single reason to care for anyone or any event on screen.

Blood Moon deserves credit for trying to incorporate the rich world of Native American folklore into the realm of indie horror. The mythos of the mysterious creatures, who are represented on screen through laughable practical effects, is actually handled quite well. It’s rare that any film makes an effort to explain belief or folk tale beyond the information needed to justify a killer’s existence and/or motivation. Blood Moon tries to show the beliefs of the native people in this film through a grounded lens. It doesn’t necessarily work as well as one might hope, but the effort to do something unique is undeniably present.

It’s not all the plot’s fault, or at least I don’t believe it to be. Blood Moon also suffers from a wide array of presentation problems. The look and feel of the sets are hollow, just like the dialogue that falls from each actor’s mouth, and the quality of lighting never rises above what you might expect from a small town high school play. It’s as if someone tasked a production team from a recently cancelled soap opera to dress, build, and produce a horror-western with specific instruction to not make anything appear too spooky or grim. The resulting look is simply drab, with everything looking far too bright and whitewashed to illicit the slightest hint of tension or terror.

There are usually one or two great things to be found in every bad movie, but Blood Moon makes finding anything to praise incredibly difficult. I will commend the cast for making the most of the material they were given. No one’s performance is completely terrible, but then again no one is all that great either. Everyone seems stiff and uncomfortable, which is saying something for a cast who appear almost as if they’re being forced to work on the film against their will. I’m sure that isn’t the case, but their lack of concern for believability is palpable in every sequence.

Though many low budget films have contended for the right to be considered the biggest waste of my time this year, Blood Moon takes the cake. There is not a frame of this film worth witnessing. It may have sounded like a good idea to create the second Western ever made in the UK and base it around a pack of werewolves in disguise at the beginning of production, but anything worthy of note was lost somewhere in the process of bringing this stupefying bore to life. It’s lazy, ugly, and absolutely pointless. If you never hear, see, or read about it again it will be too soon. Just forget this film exists and move on with your life.

GRADE: F

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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