Keen to escape the city, young couple Laurie (Danielle Lilley) and Hugh (Brandon Kyle Peters) buy a weekend fixer-upper in the country. For Laurie it’s a refuge from the pressures of the urban rat race and a sign that they’re taking their relationship to the next level but for Hugh it’s a place to unwind and party hearty with his bros, throwing a raucous party against Laurie’s wishes on their first night in the property. Unfortunately, in the abandoned boarding school for girls next door (which looks more like a small derelict farmhouse than a boarding school!) lurks the Blood Widow, an abused former student who went on a bloody rampage and now hides from the world in the dilapidated building. And she’s not happy when Laurie and Hugh’s friends come a-trespassing…

In his essay contribution to the 2006 book On Writing Horror, author Jack Ketchum brilliantly articulates why most slasher movies just don’t work for me: “People can be zany and unpredictable sometimes but they pretty much go by the book. So you don’t just waltz your second female lead into a darkened room in a spooky old house with a candle and no weapon saying, “Larry? Larry?” because you figure it’s time to off her. You arm her to the teeth and she turns on every damn light in the joint.” Blood Widow is full of characters of such forehead-slapping retardation, and I use the word ‘character’ in the loosest sense, they don’t even have the brains to pack candles. Just because you’ve hit the killer once in the face and they’re lying there inert doesn’t mean you should drop your axe/knife/cudgel and get within grabbing distance, you bloody idiot. Have you never seen a slasher movie?

Filled with chucklesome dialogue I genuinely am unsure was intentionally funny or not – perhaps my favourite being: “Hey Kenneth, let’s go check out that creepy house over there!” – Blood Widow is yet another shoestring budget, formulaic slasher movie with an almost passively tranquil, mute, masked killer offing a bunch of obnoxious fleshbags who rather than having names may as well have been called hippy victim, slutty victim, douchebag victim, alpha male victim, cowardly victim and Final Girl. And that’s pretty much the order of creative and splattery dispatch.

The performances across the board are pretty stilted and it’s hard to tell how old these characters are meant to be; the main guys are fresh-faced, callow youths barely out of their teens while the main gals all look like pornstars sliding past 30. The kills, if you like that sort of thing (and be honest, if you’re watching Blood Widow, that’s what you’re watching it for), are refreshingly old school gory; we’ve got decapitations, disembowelments, limbs being lopped off, a hippy being finished off with her own statue of Buddha and the sort of gleefully nasty, leering, use of a cat o’ nine tails that wouldn’t feel out of place in a lesbian concentration camp guard movie though there’s a practically non-existent T&A count. At one point, while searching the spooky abandoned house/school for a missing friend, heroine Laurie comments: “God, I hope she’s not naked in here…” Chance would be a fine thing. Come on fellas, if you’re going to deliver a barefaced throwback to the ‘70s and ‘80s, the least you can do is show us some flesh! You’re not making The Tree Of Life here!

Despite the relative rarity of the film’s mute masked killer being female, there is however quite a nasty, scopophilic stripe of misogyny running through the film with Lilley’s heroine essentially a whiny shrew given to uttering lines like “I wanted to move forward in our relationship,” with the sort of conviction you’d normally expect from a Xenu-botherer before soaking up a spectacular amount of punishment including being flogged with the aforementioned cat o’ nine tails and taking a bloody, prolonged beating with an axe-handle that suggests either director Buckhalt either really didn’t like her or really doesn’t like women.

The film is perhaps best summed up by its own dialogue when the arty hippy ditz (Kelly Kilgore) remarks to douchebag photographer (Jose Miguel Vasquez): “It’s so cool you still shoot on film. Digital has no soul.”

Blood Widow was shot using the digital Red One Camera.

For slasher fans only.


VERDICT: [rating=2]


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