PopTards & PopCorn: Film Review: BROTHERHOOD OF BLOOD

Reviewed by Master Filmmaker Mark Mackner

Here’s a movie that caught my eye in the used DVD bin recently. It was only a few bucks, and it’s got Sid Haig in it, so I decided to give it a shot. I’d been on a Sid Haig kick, having met him at the Monster Mania Horror Con this year and revisiting THE DEVIL’S REJECTS to prep for Rob Zombie’s H2 (Which I didn’t get around to seeing, unfortunately). But there’s more to appreciate in this film than just Sid Haig, right? Well…

I’ll start with the look of the film. It’s shot on a cheaper-looking digital grade than I shoot MY films with, if that tells you anything. Seriously low-grade digital video. That’s the first strike against it. But, what about the plot?

“BROTHERHOOD OF BLOOD” tells the story of a vampire hunter who poses as a doctor to get close to another doctor, whose brother is said to be the infamous vampire VLAD COSAI. Victoria Pratt (She of “KRAKEN, TENTACLES OF THE DEEP”) plays the lead vamp hunter, and basically amounts to a poor man’s Sarah Connor. She sneers through her line deliveries, flexes her impressive biceps, and is always saying shit like “Trust no one.” Which turns out to be good advice.

A gang of vamps, led by Haig, is also looking for the doctor’s brother, since he, VLAD COSAI, is their sworn enemy. He’s also The Devil, apparently. Hundreds of years ago, vamps and humans had to put their differences aside to unite and defeat Cosai, as he was just too powerful for either race to handle on its’ own. But now, Cosai’s back, dispatching vampires and vampire hunters with equal efficiency and brutality.

Wait, I’m making this sound a lot cooler than it actually is. Believe me, you don’t miss the vampires (mostly) and you sure don’t miss the hunters because they’re such horrible actors. The whole thing plays out, much like the DVD case boasts, like “THE USUAL SUSPECTS with vampires”. Which sounds pretty awesome, right? Problem is, they tried TOO hard to emulate that film. And it’s OBVIOUS. Remember that bit in SUSPECTS, where the Hungarian guy is on the ship, and he’s freaking out because he knows Keyser Soze is closing in on him? There’s an identical scene in this movie. The whole VLAD COSAI legend is clearly inspired by Keyser Soze, and the twist at the end is very much like the one in SUSPECTS.

But, by trying so hard to evoke another, better film, BOB sacrifices having its’ own voice, and invites comparisons it can’t possibly live up to. Haig tries his best (With REALLY fake-looking fangs), but with limited screen time, there’s only so much good he can do. Plus, it doesn’t help that he’s forced to say lines as nonsensical as “I was there when I burned him.” Um… OK. That’s good. ‘Cause it’d be pretty strange if you were somehow absent when you burned him. WTF? Despite it all, the guy’s a trooper and a gifted performer. He injects life into his scenes and the whole film benefits from it.

Also trying his darndest to rescue this thing is genre fave Ken Foree (The black guy in the original DAWN OF THE DEAD, the pimp from DEVIL’S REJECTS). Here, he turns up as a mercenary vamp, who initially seems like a villain. And he IS evil. But maybe he’s on the right side this time? Hmmm…you’ll get no such spoilers from ME! But he had giddy fun with the role, even though he’s given some pitiful supporting actors to work with.

The film’s modest budget ($500,000, or so I read online somewhere) keeps the action (and gore) from getting too crazy, so they employ some nifty “less is more” kinda tricks and camerawork that I, as a fellow starving artist filmmaker, can appreciate. And the fact that they got names like Haig and Foree attached to this gives me hope that I’ll get to work with genre greats one day.

In closing, BOB isn’t a gem, but it isn’t unwatchable. Worth the $4.99 I spent on it, and actually better than larger-budgeted dreck like UNDERWORLD. Worth a look if you find it cheap, or if someone has it on at a Halloween party, or something. But, Haig and Foree aside, get ready for some REALLY bad acting. Seriously. The vampire hunters are just AWFUL!!!!!

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2 Comments to “PopTards & PopCorn: Film Review: BROTHERHOOD OF BLOOD”

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  1. jaydee says:

    Yeah, we might be watching this on Halloween, and we'll be able to utter the line "we were there when we watched it!"

    JAYdee.

  2. Master Filmmaker Mark Mackner says:

    Ha! Well played, sir.

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