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Bloody Murder (2000)
Tonight's Feature Presentation

BLOODY MURDER (2000)

Starring: Jessica Morris, Peter Guillemette, Patrick Cavanaugh, Crystalle Ford, Michael Stone, Justin Ross Martin

Written By: John R. Stevenson Directed By: Ralph E. Portillo

The Short Version

Low budget homage to slashers past (at least you hope it was) goes horribly wrong.

Bloody Murder may be the most universally reviled slasher ever to make it to a video store.

Things like suspense, acting, direction, and so on happen to other movies, not this one.

The “R” rating is a bad joke.

No sane person watches Bloody Murder voluntarily.  Be it on your own head if you try anyway.


The Long Version

What Kind Of Cheese Is It?

E-Z CHEEZ.

Fake cheese for people who simply do not give a damn about flavor, quality, or substance.


Pairs Well With...

O'DOUL'S.

Fake beer, meet fake slasher.

“Jason, just show yourself so we can get this over with.  I hate this stupid game.”


I just had a really disturbing thought.  I’ve morphed into the frightening nutcase who steps out of the woods to warn everyone that if they know what’s best for them, they’ll stay away from the camp, and that they’re all doomed if they don’t listen.

But kids never listen, do they?

Maybe you’re one of them.  Maybe you lost a bet.  Maybe you’re the kind of person who hears “that movie sucks” and then just has to see the evidence for yourself.  Or maybe you really are a wide-eyed innocent who saw the box art featuring a guy with a hockey mask and a chainsaw and you figured “what the hell.”  You poor soul, you.

Well, if you’re going to press “play” for Bloody Murder, at least do something worthwhile with the time while it’s running.  Drink.  Fornicate.  Take a shower.  Hell, have a drink and fornicate in the shower.  Do the fun stuff they always tell you not to do in slasher movies, but whatever you do, don’t watch the actual movie!

Oh, don’t worry.  It’s not like The Ring or anything where a dripping wet girl steps out of the screen and kills you, and it definitely has nothing to do with this “Trevor Moorehouse” bozo the characters randomly babble about.  I’m just trying to save you from being bored to tears and maybe even getting angry at yourself; that’s all.  Because really… it’s an hour and a half that you’re just never going to get back. 

I’d say there’s a small spoiler ahead, but it’s hard to spoil something that already stinks this badly.

The first few minutes of Bloody Murder (or Scream Bloody Murder, if you’re a Brit) are spent kinda-sorta explaining the legend of Trevor Moorehouse, a demented killer who is supposed to stalk the woods around Camp Placid Pines.  (Apparently, he drowned there as a kid.  Yeah; that’s where this is going.)  Trevor wears coveralls and a hockey mask, and he has a chainsaw for a left hand.  Or maybe it’s his right.  Anyway, he, uh, kills people and stuff, so if you head out to Camp Placid Pines, you’d better watch out, ‘cuz Trevor’s gonna getcha!

Except he’s not.

Despite wasting the opening scene to set him up and a few halfhearted mentions of his name that no one ever takes seriously, that’s pretty much all you’ll see of Trevor Moorehouse.  As far as I can tell, the only reason that this Frankenripoff of Jason Voorhees (mask, backstory, and name phonetics), Michael Myers (coveralls), and either Ash (if you accept the chainsaw instead of a hand) or Leatherface (just the chainsaw) even exists is to give the marketing department an excuse to design a misleading cover for the DVD.

This is probably a good thing, because on the two occasions when he does show up in Bloody Murder (and I can’t possibly imagine when the second one might be in an unimaginatively derivative ripoff like this), Trevor Moorehouse is slightly less scary than the average puppy.  He might weigh a hundred pounds soaking wet, and the brand new plastic mask and fresh-from-the-rack coveralls don’t exactly scream “tromping through the nasty woods.”  As for that chainsaw – which he clearly carries with both hands even though the kid telling the story swears that the chainsaw is one of his hands – it might be a little more menacing if someone bothered to turn it on.  You can hear the sound thanks to the magic of editing, but it is pretty obvious to see that the saw isn’t really running.  If a school kid walked up to your door wearing this as a Halloween costume, you might feel tempted to grin and give him and extra piece of trick or treat candy for the effort, but on camera in what’s supposed to be an actual slasher?  Yawn.

So, if Bloody Murder isn’t really about Trevor Moorehouse, then what’s it about?  Imagine a bunch of Friday the 13th and Scream scripts tossed into a blender after all of the good parts have been torn out.  The end result might look something like this.

A bunch of alleged teenagers head up to Camp Placid Pines for a few fun-filled weeks as camp counselors.  For many, it’s a family tradition: several of them, including our obvious heroine, Julie (Jessica Morris, who survived this resume stain and went on to a long running gig on “One Life to Live”), are “second generation CPP-ers.”  But all is not well at Camp Placid Pines, and it’s not just because someone is caught screwing someone else’s best friend (with clothes on, of course).  No; it’s because people start disappearing from the camp, one by one.  And since not even any of the counselors-to-be think it’s really Trevor Moorehouse, who could be responsible?

Could it possibly be the guy named Jason (Justin Martin, later a guest star on a “Power Rangers” episode)?

Um, yeah… about that.

You may or may not have noticed that it’s a popular in-joke for slasher flicks to name some inconsequential character “Jason” just to get a funny line of dialogue in.  Hell, even Freddy’s franchise got into the act with A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 in the form of naming a character’s dog “Jason.”  Bloody Murder, however, takes a common joke that might have earned a chuckle if used once and beats it to a bloody pulp that very quickly takes on the shape of an extremely dead horse.  As noted, Jason is one of our campers, and also happens to be our first – and most often returned to – red herring.  The initial note quoted up top is cute, but after about a dozen trips to the well, “We’re at a sleepover camp; the killer has to be Jason!” becomes a reason to throw empty bottles at the screen.  We get it already…

Not that Jason has the only familiar name about camp.  Most characters’ names derive from either other slasher characters or actors or crew members known for working on slashers, from Jamie (Lee Curtis) to Tobe (Hooper).  One might think that this sort of deliberate self-awareness would hint toward something like Scream (of which Bloody Murder is obviously aware, given the lifts) or at least to a comedic send-up, but alas, neither of these ends up being the case.  Bloody Murder isn’t smart enough to be Scream, and comedies tend to involve actors and actresses who can at least pretend to be having fun.  This cast, meanwhile, looks to have been motivated by cattleprods, and most of them give off the obvious vibe that had they been asked to choose between unanaesthetized dental surgery and standing in front of the camera for Bloody Murder, they’d have been off to see the dentist in a heartbeat.  That’s how much fun they look like they’re having.  (Indeed, Jessica Morris would later note that she really hated this movie… and hers is one of the least wooden performances.) 

Maybe they’re just pre-empathizing with the audience.

The director doesn’t seem to have been any more enthusiastic about things, either.  With but a few exceptions, the dialogue exchanges sound unrehearsed at best and cue card prompted at worst.  Most shots have a “one and done” look to them, with “wing it” style blocking and a “point and shoot” approach to cinematography (which, frankly, is way too big a word for this flick).  The editing room isn’t doing Bloody Murder any favors, either, with constant fades to black that feel suspiciously like fades to commercial, with an end result that looks less like a slasher movie than it does an amateur attempt at an After School Special.

This brings us to the “R” rating, which is just a flat-out lie.  When killings do occur on camera (never a guarantee), gore is nonexistent and blood is minimal.  Hell, the only reason any of the killings generate any reaction at all is because one guy hams up an extended death by lawn dart while running twenty feet or so before collapsing.  There’s a shower scene, but you only see feet, a hand, and a wet head.  There’s an alleged sex scene, but the participants are clothed, and they don’t even kiss or moan or anything; the guy just kinda hides his head in the girl’s collarbone.  You don’t even hear any swearing until someone says “shit” forty-one minutes in, and that utterance represents 50% of the film’s total cursing.  So how, then, did Bloody Murder “earn” anything higher than the “PG” rating it deserves?

The only reason I can think of that doesn’t involve bribery on the part of the producers is that the other 50% of the film’s total cursing comes in the form of a single dropped f-bomb.

How fucking stupid is that?

Oh, right.  We’re talking about a movie where the most brilliant line of dialogue is: “Misery comes in lots of different forms; it’s all miserable.”  Nevermind, then.

Bottom line, Bloody Murder might have been salvageable as a dumb horror comedy with a lot of effort and a major script tweak, but as it stands, there’s nothing there.  A misleading rating, a slasher who isn’t actually there, no fun, no skin, no gore, a lousy screenplay, and a cast and a director who don’t seem to give a damn… I’m telling you, folks.  Fornicating in the shower is a much better way to go.

Doom Cheez Cinema is now Cinema on the Rocks. Thank you for your support!

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- Reviewed by Ziggy Berkeley, April, 2012


You can email Ziggy at ziggy@cinemaontherocks.com. You can also find us on Facebook.


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