Here For Blood Review

A gory throwback to video store staples of the ’80s and ’90s, SCREAMBOX Original wrestling-fueled horror-comedy Here for Blood will invade select theaters, digital, and SCREAMBOX on February 9.

The last time I saw a wrestling-inspired horror flick, I ended up with Pro Wrestlers Versus Zombies.

And I really wanted to like it, what with its cast and all. I was a huge Shane Douglas fan in ECW, plus it featured other 80’s and 90’s WWE stars like Roddy Piper and Hacksaw Jim Duggan? Matt Hardy? Kurt Angle, our Olympic hero?!

The problem was… it was not particularly well-made. Like, at all. It was more like a ninety minute heavy metal music video than a movie, and while the acting was serviceable enough from the stars of wrestling, the camerawork, editing, lighting… everything that goes into MAKING AN ACTUAL MOVIE… was pretty rough.

And since then, wrestling-horror has, at least for me, been something of a no-go. I just never wanted to be let down again. But then I got a screener from Screambox, and oh look: it’s a wrestling-inspired horror film. Uh oh!

Here For Blood is the story of Tom, a struggling professional wrestler who gets screwed over by a promoter when we first see him. He’s dating college student Phoebe, and she has an important exam coming up the morning after she is supposed to babysit for Grace. When the pressure of needing to study gets to her, she has an idea: have Tom take over sitting for Grace so she can prepare for her exams.

After getting it cleared with Grace’s parents, and being forced into relenting by Phoebe, Tom shows up at Grace’s house to take on his charge for the evening. Grace’s parents head out for the night, and she seems like an easy-going enough girl, so Tom settles in for what he figures will be an uneventful night.

After ordering a pizza, though, things start to go awry for the two. The pizza guy’s car never leaves the driveway. Tom starts hearing strange noises. Then two masked intruders attack!

Tom has to spend the rest of the night protecting Grace from the assault of masked men. And things only get worse when there turns out to be a supernatural component at the center of the home invasion…

TWO UPS AND TWO DOWNS

+This effort is genuinely low-key funny and entertaining. Not funny on a level of, say, a Deep Murder, but still… I lost count of the number of times this earned a sensible chuckle from me. I was worried the humor here might be forced or over-the-top, but it’s light enough that it works much better.

I think a lot of this boils down to the effortless charm of Shawn Roberts as Tom. He’s very quippy and has some great comedic timing (or, if he doesn’t, the editing at least makes it look like he does). He’s an easy-to-root-for protagonist in this flick as a guy just doing his best by his girl and his ward. He’s down-to-earth and engaging, and I really enjoyed following his story here. And he can really sling a one-liner.

+If you are a gorehound or someone who really loves the blood-n-guts aspect of horror films, you should be right at home here, as Here For Blood is catering right to you. There are plenty of gushing stab wounds, beheadings, burnings, pulpings, and more once the action kicks in.

It’s not necessarily always MY thing, but it’s done with a comical effect here, and I always appreciate that more than, say, torture porn gore. With this movie, we’re talking relentless, Evil Dead style blood spurts from lost limbs, covering everyone nearby in the colorful red juice (to borrow a wrestling term). It’s just the right kind of brutality if you ask me! Lots of it, but fun; not disgusting.

-There’s a professional quality that seems to be lacking in some minor aspects, like one scene in particular where the lighting/coloration keeps changing mid-shot. It was enough to distract me from what Tom and Grace were talking about because I kept waiting to see when the lighting would change again.

Other than that, this looks fine. You’re never going to confuse it with a Hollywood production, but it’s not terrible, either. The settings and camerawork look like probably what it cost to make, and that’s fair, but I’ve seen some really impressively pro-style indie flicks lately that look a fair bit better.

-At 1:40, the runtime is probably a bit long for what this is. By the time you get to the last one or two confrontations in the climax, you’ve already seen the best of what Here For Blood has to offer. Despite how much fun the ride has been, you do start feeling the duration just a bit in those moments. If they had trimmed ten minutes from the third act, I think it would be more enjoyable on the whole.

OVERALL

Here For Blood was just an absolute blast that was admittedly far more fun than I was expecting it to be. As it starts, it seems to be exactly what you anticipate, but when the action kicks in, everything picks up tenfold. Shawn Roberts is pulling off his own version of Ash Williams as a quip-slinging bad-ass who has to fight off malevolent forces, and he does a stand-out job. It’s a touch overlong, sure, but it’s mostly a great ride.

★★★★ out of 5

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