9 out of 10
The easiest way for me to start off this review is by saying thank you. Thank you to the producers and writer/director Alberto Sciamma for making a film that is truly cinematic and one that returns vampires to blood thirsty, mysterious and sexual creatures. The path once set forth by Dracula himself has been lost in recent years, especially due to the pop culture phenomenon that is the Twilight Saga and CW hit series “The Vampire Diaries.” It was absolutely delightful to see vampires as they were meant to be, dark and dangerous… their only goal to kill, not cause a totally unbelievable amount of drama. Thank you for Blood Trap. Thank you for making me fall in love with vampires again.
Blood Trap is the fifth feature length film from Alberto Sciamma, following on the footsteps of his 2002 and 2003 titles Black Plague and Jericho Mansions; though I do believe that Blood Trap is going to be his biggest hit to date. The film was shot in Rome, Italy and stars Costas Mandylor (Saw III – Saw 3D), Drew Kenney (“The Bachelorette”), Gianni Capaldi (The Wicked Within), Elena Mirela, Grazia Leone, Denny Mendez and Vinnie Jones (“Arrow,” X-Men: The Last Stand). The film follows six criminals who team up to kidnap a young woman in hopes of using her to extort $40,000,000 from her father via kidnapping and ransom. Arriving just before sunrise to avoid detection, the rag-tag group find themselves sealed inside the mansion with the woman they were supposed to attack, but she’s way more than she appears to be. All doors lead to Hell in Blood Trap!
The film starts with a peculiar sequence that makes it known from the start that there is no hope going forward. What’s about to happen to the group is going to be brutal and horrific. From there, we meet each of our six convicts, all of them individual in their own way and each having their own somewhat comical trait that makes them endearing to the viewer despite being horrible people. After killing the two guards at the gates, they enter a huge four story mansion and begin their search for the young woman – their ransom. This all happens pretty quick, but I was struck by the classical elements in use that makes Blood Trap so earthy, educated and nostalgic. It could be due to the location, Rome, but everything just seemed higher class and it took me back to the time of monster movies like Dracula and Frankenstein and The Mummy; old school glamour and traditional storytelling methods hit home in a big way. I was struck by the pure awesome-ness of the setting and the fact that all of the actors could act. If you love 1950’s or 1960’s horror films, then you’re going to love Blood Trap.
The film takes a believable way of seeing the bandits inside the mansion. The woman, of course, is a vampire and the doors and windows to the building automatically shut and are reinforced from sunrise to sunset in an effort to keep her – and her family – safe from the harsh rays of sunlight. You can try to blow up the doors. It won’t work. You can try to shoot your way through the doors. It won’t work. Our leads are stuck inside the mansion with an age old vampire and they discover this piece by piece while blundering around the beautiful premises looking for a way out. It’s got a very real, very claustrophobic to it and immeasurable suspense, especially what we as a viewer already knowing going into the movie based on the opening scene. I don’t want to post anymore minor spoilers because I want you to be surprised when you see this, but the storytelling is relaxed and fluid and lets you enjoy the progression of the story instead of waiting for false jump scares. Blood Trap is a vampire film for true horror fans who enjoy a scary story with the blood and guts taking the backseat.
That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a large amount of blood, however. In my mind, I imagine a dump truck of fake blood being delivered to set every day for shooting of Blood Trap. The central characters take a harsh beating in Blood Trap and the blood comes from a variety of places outside of neck wounds. I don’t think Blood Trap was ever designed to be a gorefest, but it sure as Hell turned out that way! The gorehounds are going to love this and any vampiric fanatics are going to be left more ravenous than the creature in the movie. The special effects and make up workers in this picture deserve a round of applause because they definitely had their work cut out for them! And, believe it or not, there is some comedy to be found in Blood Trap as well. I chuckled a few times at the dry humor or irony delicately placed among the violence, the vampire attacks, the swearing and the sensuality. The kidnappers are strong, deadly and ex-cons, but they’re also marginally dimwitted; so there is some comedic effect to watching them wander around the mansion in hopes of survival.
With several homages to Dracula in place, and several twists and turns, Blood Trap is easily the best vampire movie I’ve seen in years. Hands down. It’s the perfect blend of horror, action and comedy. Well acted, exquisite production, and a story that is going to inspire old school horror fans. I’m glad this baby came across my desk and I hope to purchase it in the future. More importantly, Blood Trap has tremendous re-watchability and for that it is worth your hard earned money, too.