Bloodstained Romance (2007): Reviewed by BRYAN SCHUESSLER
Bloodstained Romance (2007) aka Switchblade Death aka Dementia Red directed by Travis B. Miller, is an independent horror film from Mudd Miller Productions shot on a seemingly tiny budget that had me from start to finish. I really enjoyed this film and thought that the lead performance by Chris Burchette was what made this film so enjoyable to watch. This was director Travis B. Miller’s first film and it was a smashing success. I look forward to seeing more of his work.
Burchette plays the lead character, Holden,who has difficult time talking to those of the opposite sex. He begins to become obsessed with one girl in particular, Sadie (Cameron Wright) and starts a campaign of stealthy and attentive observation of her whether she be at the library studying with her girlfriends or at the gym working out on campus. The plot is a simple tale of a guy falling for a girl that he thinks he has no chance with, but really he has as much chance as anyone else but just does not see it in himself to make it happen. Burchette’s low self-esteem seems to always get in the way and make every encounter that occurs between himself and Wright extremely awkward.
Aside from the wonderful performance by Burchette, I was very impressed by the smooth edits, transitions, and the wonderful soundtrack and score to the whole film. Miller was not only the director of the film, but he also was credited as the editor and director of photography. Miller succeeded on every level. There is some very nicely shot scenes of murder and mayhem involving our lead character and various tools for torture and murder, including butcher knives and hammers. I was satisfied with the amount of blood and gore, but even more satisfied with the acting and music in the film. Cole Campbell was the main composer of the music and Brian McDugle is responsible for the original score music. The duo’s soundtrack really added to the overall suspense and pace of the film.
With so many independent films the pacing of it all is so important. If a film does not have money to throw around on fancy special effects, big name actors and actresses, stunning shot locations, or expensive film for high-quality shots then a filmmaker better wow the audience with solid acting, great film pace, and a really good script. Miller excelled in all of these points aforementioned.
As to how Miller chose Burchette to be casted as lead in the film was that he originally was not casted in the film at all! The lead actor never showed up when filming began and Miller asked the crew and cast if they knew of anyone that can take the place of the film’s lead, Holden, and 20 minutes later Burchette walked in he was given the part. A stroke of luck that turned into a stroke of genius because he really carried the whole film. Apparently, the film had originally been scripted to focus on all the characters in the film, but Miller decided to solely focus on Holden’s character which he found to be much more interesting. He made the right choice.
According to IMDB, there is a director’s cut that came out in 2009. I viewed a screener whose date of production was 2007. They are the same films, but the 2009 Director’s Cut may have some extended footage or extra scenes.
Bloodstained Romance is a character study into the mindset of a young man slowly loosing a grip on reality and sinking into the depths of depravity and destroying everything and everyone that gets in the way of his obsession, Sadie. The film works in many ways on this level and really captures the mental breakdown of Holden and how he obsesses with Sadie. After thinking about this story, I really wonder how much this happens in real-life and how close some individuals get to actually acting out their urges and fantasies. When one thinks of it in those terms, this film paints a very frightening picture.
I strongly recommend this film and hope one can get over the fact that it is an independent film, shot on digital video and not film, but really has some terrific acting by total unknowns. The storyline, the plot, and the pace of the film are what makes this movie really enjoyable. There are not any scenes that drag on and have one thinking, “When will this part be over?!”. I enjoyed this film and hope you will find this film and also enjoy it.
According to Travis Miller’s Myspace page, Bloodstained Romance’s release date has been pushed back from February 1st to March 10th. It will be available worldwide.
Check out the film’s Myspace page: