Monday, March 13, 2017

Blood Demon Rising – review

Director: Harry Tchinski

Release date: 2012

Contains spoilers

For a low budget film to use as much CGI as Blood Demon Rising (AKA Grimises Rising) uses is very brave but just a tad foolhardy. The unreality it adds could have been avoided by using some physical props in small ticket items. The set/backdrop CGI looks a tad odd and out of place. However I can understand why it was used.

The film starts with a broken weather vane atop the tower of a castle/gothic pile. All this is done in cgi and doesn’t look half bad to be fair. Within the building we meet a group of Satanists. The leader, James (Norman Newkirk), has a book and the occult sigil on the front is in CGI that visually slides on the cover and would have looked better if they had printed the sigil out and glued it on.

satanic ritual
There is aim to perform a sacrifice and one of the Satanists rings a CGI bell – which again looks odd. The rite is designed to release the demon Grimises (Stephen Lestat), which breaks from a statue and bites the sacrifice. However she is no virgin and the demon is poisoned. James locks the doors off as the demon attacks the congregation, buying itself time in the mortal realm. The demon’s cgi tongue again looks odd. The demon wants two Christian girls and James vows to get them.

Simone Leorin as Father Samuel
Father Samuel (Simone Leorin) is a Jesuit priest called to meet his superior to be told that there is a suspected rising. He is given a dagger (the Judas Dagger, forged from Judas’ silver pieces) that is the one thing that can kill the Grimises Demon – which was the one who possessed Judas. It is said to be a blood demon, a vampire demon. So the demon is our vampire but he also creates more traditional vampires.

crazy kids
James’ plan was to open up a haunt in the castle. Many of his exhibits are real tortured people (not recognised as such by the punters) and it offers a feeding ground for the demon. Four crazy kids from the local Christian college go to the haunt. They are Dave (Jareth Hixon), Shawn (Logan Littlefield), Joanna (Ronee Collins) and Vicky (Chelsey Tillich). The girls go in first and the boys are stopped. They can only enter two at a time (and the girls have now been separated off). As the boys look for the girls, the girls are captured by James and the boys end up outside and dateless.

Stephen Lestat as Grimises
James visits the demon who is taking a blood bath with his two female vampire minions. He picks a sore on his chest and produces two demon worms. James is instructed to put them on the bellies of the two girls and it will make them susceptible to the demon’s seed (indeed it would seem the worms are that seed). This is done and Joanna (the virgin) becomes pregnant with a baby that will be the demon’s host (as his demonic body is falling apart due to the bodged rite). Vicky was not a virgin and she is dying until Grimises gives her his blood and turns her.

curing vampirism
The two lads break in to the haunt to find their girls and Father Samuel is also going in. The two guys are verging on comic relief and Logan Littlefield as Shawn is encouraged to offer cheeky looks to camera and gets some lines that work rather well (the quip "bad Vicky", as the erstwhile girlfriend of Dave tries to bite him, might not look that special in type but is delivered with good comedic timing in film). A special papal coin can cure vampirism.

The film isn’t the greatest but it isn’t bad. One of the issues is probably them throwing too much into the mix but the CGI can also be off-putting and some of it is truly awful (a cgi diner location, complete with badly constructed CGI truck, just looked terrible). The filmmakers could have still used CGI but made some wiser decisions or merged physical props and cgi less and relied more on CGI to get a more graphic novel feel. As I said at the head it was a brave move but low budget filmmaking is never going to have access to flawless cgi that a bigger budget effort can boast. 4 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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