• Blood Paradise (Artsploitation Films) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Artsploitation Films
    Released on: July 16th, 2019.
    Director: Patrick von Barkenberg
    Cast: Andréa Winter, Brenna Otts, Christer Cavallius, Rolf Brunnström
    Year: 2018
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    Blood Paradise – Movie Review:

    Patrick von Barkenberg's opens with a scene wherein a naked woman is bound to a bed and then proceeds to beg a man, dressed all in black with his face covered, not to hurt her. He pulls out a blunt object of some sort and beats her across the back. It’s made very clear to the audience that this is a sex game between the two participants, both of whom engage willingly, and both of whom clearly enjoy it.

    From here, we meet Robin Richards (Andréa Winter), a popular writer of horror fiction whose latest book, Return To Blood Paradise, was a flop. This doesn’t seem to phase her hunky but dimwitted boyfriend, Teddy (Patrick Von Barkenberg), very much, but it’s weighing on Robin and understandably so. When her agent suggest that Robin get a chance of scenery in hopes that it might get the old creative juices flowing, she follows his advice and books a stay at a farm in rural Sweden. Despite Teddy’s protests, Robin makes the trip and, after meeting a driver named Hans Bubi (Christer Cavallius), learns that he’s just about her biggest fan. He asks her to sign a few of the hardcovers he’s collected over the years, and she obliges.

    All is well and good when Robin first arrives but the initially friendly owner of the place, Rolf (Rolf Brunnström), soon becomes noticeably cranky. He explains this away by sharing that he recently had to bury his beloved wife out in the garden. Rolf’s sister-in-law, a deaf woman (Ingrid Hedström), is also a factor here – she stares at everyone and knits incessantly, playing with dolls rather than even trying to interact with friends or family. Hans seems nice enough, but his betrothed, Elsa (Ellinor Berglund), is clearly a very jealous and demanding woman none too keen on seeing her man interact with his rather attractive idol.

    And then Teddy shows up.

    Blood Paradise is quite well made. As it is in a lot of horror movies, there are moments here where you can’t help but question why certain characters react to situations in the film the way that they do but if you can look past that element, this is pretty entertaining stuff. There’s a twisted sense of humor behind much of what unfolds on the screen, and the movie scores definite bonus points for taking the story in a few directions you’re not likely to see coming. Patrick von Barkenberg’s direction is solid and the movie is well-paced and quite tense while the cinematography employed in the film form Thomas Rist is frequently very striking.

    Andrea Winters, who co-wrote the film with the director, does an excellent job in the lead role. She’s comes across as very smart and very capable and she makes Robin a believable and interesting character. Christer Cavallius steals more than a few scenes as her biggest fan, and while there are shades of Annie Wilkes in his character that you can’t ignore, the movie never quite delves into the Misery knock-off it easily could have been.

    Blood Paradise – Blu-ray Review:

    Blood Paradise arrives on Blu-ray from Artsploitation Films on a 25GB disc with an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 2.35.1 widescreen. This is a very stylish looking film, often shot very colorfully and sometimes using soft lighting, but it looks excellent on Blu-ray. Color reproduction is spot on, pretty much perfect, and black levels are just as good. Skin tones look great and detail is always top notch, frequently outstanding. There no noticeable compression problems nor are there any issues with edge enhancement or sharpening. This is a very strong picture.

    English language audio is provided in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo. There are no alternate language options but optional English subtitles and SDH subtitles are provided. While a lossless option would clearly have been ideal, the 5.1 track here is pretty good. There are solid directional effects noticeable throughout, dialogue is clean and clear and the track is free of any hiss or distortion. When watching the movie without subtitles, there are occasional stretches of dialogue that are spoken in Swedish that are not translated. If you turn the English subs on, these passages are translated, however, and if you use the SDH option then all of the English and Swedish dialogue is represented.

    Extras are limited to three deleted scenes, three music videos, menus and chapter selection.

    Blood Paradise – The Final Word:

    Blood Paradise is light on extras but Artsploitation Films has given the film a very fine-looking transfer and decent audio. As to the movie itself, it’s an interesting and original work. If there are occasional logic gaps in the way that characters behave here, to focus on that is to not see the forest through the trees. The performances are quite strong, the direction and cinematography tight and stylish and the story itself quite intriguing. All of this makes Blood Paradise well worth your time.

    For reasons unknown, this Blu-ray didn't want to cooperate when it came to screen caps - so these have been taken from Google image searches that led back to this review and this review. Full credit to those guys for taking them!