• Blood Vessel (Umbrella Entertainment) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Umbrella Entertainment
    Released on: November 4th, 2020.
    Director: Justin Dix
    Cast: Nathan Phillips, Alyssa Sutherland, Robert Taylor, Christopher Kirby, Alex Cooke
    Year: 2019
    Purchase From Amazon

    Blood Vessel – Movie Review:

    Directed by Justin Dix, who co-wrote with Jordan Prosser and who also served as one of the film’s producers, 2019’s Blood Vessel is set in the later part of 1945, where Allied forces have the Nazis on the run. With a surrender seeming imminent, the Allies have set out to reclaim the massive troves of artwork and riches that the Nazis stole earlier in the war.

    The movie starts with a life raft containing six Allied soldiers floating in the middle of the ocean. These people - a nurse named Jane Prescott (Alyssa Sutherland), an American naval Captain and ship’s cook, an Australian infantryman, a high ranking British army Officer and a Russian foot soldier – realize that without any food or fresh water, their days are numbered, and their prospects for rescue don’t look good. So you can imagine both their surprise and their delight when a German minesweeper shift, seemingly abandoned, crosses their path.

    The six survivors board the ship and hurry to start exploring it. It doesn’t take long before they start to realize that whatever happened to its original German crew was very, very bad. They do come across Mya (Ruby Isobel Hall), an Eastern European girl who appears to be the only one left alive. She brings them down deep into the belly of the ship where a locked room, soon opened, reveals not only a massive stash of Nazi gold, but also a pair of vampires, The Patriarch (Troy Larkin) and The Matriarch (Vivienne Perry)!

    If Blood Vessel is a little no the derivative side, feeling a bit like a cross between Death Ship (or, if you have terrible taste, Ghost Ship) and Aliens, so be it because the film, even if it isn’t the most original film you’ll see this year, is still a whole lot of fun. It’s quite quick in the pacing department and while made on a reasonably modest budget, features very strong production values. Justin Dix does a really strong job of mixing action and horror into the film in pretty equal measure, and the fairly claustrophobic locations of a ship adrift at sea does a nice job of helping to keep an effectively eerie atmosphere front and center. Very effective lighting and strong cinematography are also key here, and the score does a good job of heightening the tension.

    The character development definitely could have been stronger here, and while the acting is generally quite good from all involved, there are times where the six different survivor types are a bit clichéd. The vampire angle is handled well, The Patriarch and The Matriarch are sufficiently savage and are memorable monsters and the makeup effects used to bring them to live are pretty well done. All in all, this might not be deep, but it is a lot of fun.

    Blood Vessel – Blu-ray Review:

    Blood Vessel arrives on region B Blu-ray from Umbrella Entertainment on a 50GB disc with the feature taking up 27.36GBs of space. The AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer, framed at 2.35.1 widescreen, looks really good. Shot digitally, there’s no print damage, dirt or debris to discuss, the image is pristine. Colors look really good, black levels are strong and we get nice depth and detail throughout.

    Audio for the feature is handled by an English language 24-bit DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track, with optional subtitles offered in English only. It’s a good track, with plenty of surround activity present to pull you into the movie. Levels are balanced properly and there are no issues with any hiss or distortion. The score has good depth to it and the dialogue is easy to understand and follow.

    The first of the two audio commentary tracks on the disc includes director Justin Dix and cast members Nathan Phillips, Christopher Kriby, Alex Cooke, Mark Diaco, John Lloyd Fillingham and Troy Larkin. Its’ a pretty rowdy track but it’s also a lot of fun and packed with information. They cover the movie in a lot of depth, noting what was shot when, the locations that were used for the shoot, the constant rain that made a specific day of shooting rather tricky, the effects work featured in the picture, how and when the actors tried to find their momentum with their performances, how and why certain shots were set up the way that they were, where pickup shots are used in the picture, how well everyone got along on set and lots more.

    The second audio commentary features Justin Dix and editor Dave Redmond that is also quite in-depth, though a lot less rowdy. They talk about the making of the film, what was real versus what was done with effects work in the picture, the shooting schedule, how Redmond was cutting while shooting was still going on, when and where certain scenes were cut down and why, how they tried to get the audience involved with the characters, the intentional use of reverb in certain scenes, how much of the film plays out in real time and more.

    On Board Blood Vessel - The Making Of The Film is an in-depth fifty-one-minute piece that is basically a series of production diaries put together to create a length making of featurette. It does a good job of covering the film's origins, going over casting and rehearsal work, design work, costuming, effects, locations and lots more. Pretty much all of the main cast and crew members involved in the production pop up here and it covers a lot of ground.

    Troy Larkin, who played The Patriarch in the film, is interviewed in Interview With A Vampire, a nine-minute segment that covers what all his work on the film involved, including thoughts on the film and the character and how he got along with the cast and crew.

    Rounding out the extras are an amusing four-minute animated bit that was done just for fun, some online promos for the film, a theatrical trailer for the movie, menus and chapter selection options.

    Blood Vessel – The Final Word:

    Blood Vessel is a really entertaining mix of horror and action. It’s very fast paced, the cast are all very solid and it features some impressive effects work as well. Umbrella Entertainment has done a really nice job with the film’s Blu-ray release, presenting it in great shape and with plenty of extra features as well. Recommended.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blood Vessel Blu-ray screen caps!