The Bleeding (2009)

(On DVD, January 2012) I enjoyed The Bleeding for all the wrong reasons.  Let’s be clear: this is not a good movie.  It revels in clichés, terrible cinematography, dull plotting and unsuccessfully tries to ape much better films.  Still, it’s aimed at horrors fans, and I can recognize the wolf-whistles aimed at that particular constituency.  A vampire movie loaded with hot cars, heavy weaponry, occasional female nudity and death metal music, The Bleeding desperately wants to please the sometimes-insular horror film fan community, and nearly every misstep that the movie makes is due to blatant fan-service.  The protagonist’s over-the-top narration is so grotesquely filled with pretentious tough-guy talk that it borders on parody; a sudden dismemberment scene is designed to please the gore-hounds; the female character ecstatic over the protagonist’s car is designed to appeal to a specific kind of movie-watcher.  If you have some current or past affinity for that crowd (male, white, 18-to-34, undiscriminating horror fanatic, often single; I’ve been there) then The Bleeding will find a place in the happy place of your brain, even as you recognize that it’s terrible.  More seasoned audiences will still be fascinated by the film’s attempt to re-create better films, and why the attempts don’t work: Stone-faced Michael Matthias tries hard to be Vin Diesel (and you can almost imagine how Diesel would play that role more forcefully), but the script gives him some lines of dialogue that have to be heard to be believed.  Michael Madsen, at least, has a little bit of self-aware fun as a gun-toting priest.  Kat Von D shows up briefly (but not as briefly as Armand Assante’s one-scene cameo) while Vinnie Jones growls a standard-issue villain and DMX shows up for a hilariously convenient bit of exposition.  The script is terrible in a quasi-charming way, being made almost entirely of macho posturing and onrushing exposition.  The cinematography isn’t confident enough in itself and feels forced to bathe everything in super-saturated monochrome.  No doubt: The Bleeding is bad… and yet, at the same time, kind of entertaining. You already know if you want to see it, don’t you?  The DVD contains three inconsequential featurettes, plus The Bleeding’s own trailer –which is even funnier after seeing the film!

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