Evan Marlowe’s Blood Rush doesn’t mess around, dropping you right in the middle of what one would initially surmise is a zombie outbreak. Kara’s discovery of her flesh-hungry sister Emma (Kerry Finlayson) leads to Emma’s capture and Kara’s own escape, with the help of handless Kate (Helen Soraya), a victim of Emma’s feasting; Danny (Don Donnelley), who has a penchant for running away instead of fighting; and Lucy (Christy Lee Hughes), the pregnant one.
Juxtaposed with the survival tale of Kara (Kerry Finlayson) and company is the individual stories of various other small town denizens about to become victims of the outbreak, who conveniently meet at a church so we can keep track of who’s who, from the Mayor (David Alen Smith) and his all-attitude ward Jessica (Samantha Michelle) to the maybe nuts, maybe genius Dr. Travers (John Wuchte), who might actually have some grasp of what’s going on. Oh, and there’s also the old man who lives up in the wilderness who may or may not be a witch doctor (Myles Cranford) responsible for all this mess in the first place.
First, the good. Blood Rush tackles the idea of a zombie-like outbreak with a more omniscient feel, trying to cover as many different bases as possible. In that realm is room to explore a number of tropes and also to exercise some gore and visual effects muscles. And when the film succeeds, it’s in the gore. Definitely some imagery in this flick that is so good I wish I hadn’t seen it, and others that is just simple, gory fun. The film can’t live solely in its gore, however.
In its lesser moments, Blood Rush feels unfocused. Obviously this can be aimed at the number of characters it pays attention to, and the fact that, save for a few here or there, most of the side-stories aren’t the most compelling. While it does offer more to the narrative than just “here’s a handful of survivors, let’s follow them in a linear fashion as things happen,” it also serves to muddy the mix too much.
If I’m enjoying what’s going on with Dr. Travers, for example, heading over to see how things are going with the overbearing wife and the spineless husband is not necessarily on the top of my list, especially when their situation is little more than caricature. Which is the main problem with the side-stories, that they’re peopled with characters that are all surface over substance. You could argue that, of course, to give these characters substance would require much more time and attention to them, to which I can only think, if that’s so, why not go with fewer characters, given more depth? It’s an admirable idea to try and cover a broader range of people in a fresh take on a “zombie” film (zombie in quotations because they’re not reanimated, flesh-hungry dead, they’re just ravenous cannibals), but in practice it doesn’t come together.
But I do give credit to the filmmakers for the attempt, and the premise of simultaneously running out the storylines of so many characters during this viral-cannibal-ocalypse is an intriguing one, but it probably works far better on paper (or in a novel) than it does here. Unfortunately, despite some quality gore and fun twists, I just didn’t care enough about any one character in the film to pull me through, and thus the entire film became disinteresting and somewhat exhausting.
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