Blood Junkie is a film that I wanted to see way back in 2010 premiere at the Milwaukee Film Fest, but didn’t get a chance for reasons I have long forgotten. Blood Junkie is a throw-back horror film set in 1989 and is about four stupid teenagers and a small kid who do stupid things before going in the woods to do more stupid things that eventually put them in the cross hairs of a killer who feeds on blood like a drug, hence the title.
Blood Junkie works as a parody of the genre rather than an actual entry in it. The attention to detail make it feel authentic to the time period it takes place, and I loved the movie for this when I first started watching it. In this age of nostalgia, seeing a modern film pull off feeling like it is from the 80’s is phenomenal and Blood Junkie could easily fool someone into believing it was filmed in 1989. Unfortunately, I surmised rather quickly that this is in large part due to the films low budget shortly after we’re introduced to our four leads. The start of the film focuses on two pairs of friends (two males, two females) who are doing random things before hooking up and going off into the woods. Protracted montages abound of the four doing silly things like aerobics or hitting on older women. About twenty minutes into the film it hit me that all of this was padding to fill out the run time, and then noticed the run time is only seventy-two minutes. Blood Junkie is the second film from Wisconsin native Drew Rosas, and he followed it with Billy Club, which I really enjoyed, though it also suffered from the same problem with padding towards the middle.
In Billy Club’s case, the padding is only in a small portion whereas it’s the majority of the entire film in Blood Junkie. We watch horror movies for the kills, not to see knuckle heads wander around or small children toss coins for unforgivably long periods of time. The killer doesn’t even strike until about 40 minutes in, at which point the film does pick up and gives us some decent gore, but still suffers from a lack of urgency. I wasn’t surprised to find out that the film was originally supposed to be a half hour to forty minute short film, but they decided to go feature length by shooting improvisational scenes in the woods.
As a horror fan, child of the 80s, and citizen of Wisconsin, I appreciate what Drew Rosas set out to do and really wanted to like the film. For me watching the film was like finding a two liter bottle of my favorite soda and discovering that it is flat. He made amends with Billy Club, which he co-wrote with the star of both films, Nick Sommer. Nick Sommer also starred in another local film I ended up seeing at the Milwaukee Film fest, The Jeffery Dahmer Files. The critical reception to Blood Junkie has been much different than my own so feel free to judge for yourself on Troma’s YouTube channel.
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