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By T.W. Anderson | December 13, 2005

It’s a safe assumption that since the reign of Joss Whedon and Buffyverse has passed that humanity is desperately in need of a new, beautiful, blond vampire slayer. First time feature filmmaker Michael Kazlo sets himself and Archangel Productions up as the bestower of a new breed of hunter. Maria Hunter to be exact.

Sister Maria Hunter (Nicole Signore) and her brother (Josh Gray) did not begin life in the pure and carefree joys of an innocent youth. Brought up under the watchful eye of the church and raised by Father John (W.A. Smith) following the brutal slaughter of their parents by vampires, the children were woefully unaware of the sinister nature of the evil forces that were plotting against them, until the fateful day, when the dark one returned to settle unfinished business. Distraught over the murder and resurrection of her brother, Maria begins to question all that came before and resolves to rid the world of the foul beasts of blood by exacting merciless vengeance on all those who rule the night. Forced to leave the sanctuary of the church, Maria must make her own way in the cruel netherworld of the undead in order to find and annihilate the monsters that destroyed her family and stole her childhood. Upon her quest, she will uncover the mysteries of a centuries old clan of nosferatu and learn that all things both dead and undead are not created equal.

Director Michael Kazlo’s debut feature film seeks to address two major issues of vampire lore. Initially he is determined to disregard all manner of mythos attached to the creatures of the night and present them as simply another segment of society. Secondly, he propagates the notion that not all vampires are evil and some simply wish to continue life much as their mortal counterparts have, with peace and anonymity. Kazlo’s lofty goals are well received and he does an excellent job of creating characters that are interesting, even if said characters are not completely fleshed out creations.

The production’s weakest points may be, that for a vampire flick, Bloodlust was surprisingly low on gore and, specifically, the action sequences while interesting at the onset, are far too chaotic and too disjointed to be utterly convincing. The screenplay is at times overwrought with pop culture references and the voice over narration provided by Hunter often falls flat. The premise of the story however, is engaging enough to keep the viewer captivated until the final reel. The promise shown by Kazlo in his debut feature also bodes well for future projects.

Like so many other zero budget mavericks, Kazlo filmed his $2,000 feature over the course of multiple weekends in order to address the cast and crew’s need to maintain school and work requirements. The cast members, while uneven in there performances, still provide periodic moments of brilliance, specifically actress Nicole Signore who effortlessly blends a concoction of innocence and pain making Hunter a compelling addition to the growing microcosm of fearless vampire killers.

The DVD release of Michael Kazlo’s Bloodlust is available directly from Archangel Productions and includes: Feature length audio commentary, a music featurette, 3 teaser trailers and a blooper reel.

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