Here's a brainteaser for my dear readership this week--who would ever be so sufficiently brain damaged as to rip off HOSTEL? Who, who could ever be so base as to emulate the roaring lump of misery that was Eli Roth's worst stand? That's a question we're going to answer just one paragraph down.
So what we have here is the not so surprisingly familiar story of four college students and for some reason an Iraq War vet who go out on a road trip together. Along the way, they pick up a woman in the grips of terror being persued by a black van. The black van does its level best to turn the car to so much useless scrap, and does the job well. The six find a nearby ranch, and in the midst of seeking help, find themselves in the middle of the Web, a coterie of goons and assorted whatnot that's into dismemberment and weird sex. Oh, and let's not forget killing everybody who comes in contact with them in a slow, loud, and ultimately grotesque manner.
Right now, if you took my brainteaser seriously, and wondered just who on the face of the earth would be so slow-witted and desperate for a plotline as to rip off HOSTEL, well congratulations--you've found them. Welcome to the new Bottom of the Barrel, population you and a godawful movie called BLOOD RANCH. Let's admit the truth here--BLOOD RANCH really is HOSTEL, just set in the backwoods desert and with a cult instead of wealthy, jaded businessmen in eastern Europe.
And what a movie it is, too. Check out the thirty four minute eight second mark, which starts off one of the longest standoffs I can recall. This particular standoff will involve men posturing at gunpoint for over four minutes. I have never seen a standoff take so long or waste so much time. Even better, check out their big attempt at edgy reprehensibility--they're using a human being for a dart board. You know, this was shocking to me when I first saw it two years ago in the Japanese release LIVING HELL. Now it's just one more knockoff. And having the old guy in green briefs and a neck brace launch into a diatribe about flowers while throwing the darts isn't what you'd call edgy either. It's just annoying.
Annoying is actually a pretty good way to describe the whole movie. Rather than trying to tell a decent story, they've thrown it aside for a long string of "disturbing" events involving sadistic behavior at its worst. In their frantic and desperate effort to overthrow HOSTEL as the newest king of disgusting, they've instead managed to make their own category--the newest king of pathetic. Plus, they've even managed to have logical fallacies as part of their narrative--check out the action as several dirty half naked girls beat the hell out of their tormentors. See if you can spot at least three logical fallacies. Give up? How about:
1. Why, for the first time all movie, is there a noticeable absence of blood? Absolutely none of those beatdown implements is coming up with so much as a visible speck of blood.
2. How the hell does a pickaxe enter a human being and not come away with a drop of blood on it?
3. Anyone else noticing that that sickle silhouetted in the background never even touches anywhere near the ground?
You may well have found others. I'll bet they're there if you look for them. It's not like they're hidden very well. Oh, and it would be nice if the chain on that "buzz saw" actually moved when the sound effects suggest it does at fifty five minutes twenty seconds. You know, I could keep pointing out the monstrously stupid moves that BLOOD RANCH tries to pull off, but I'm running out of two crucial points: air time and patience. The patience of Job wouldn't be sufficient to sit through this slop.
The ending is absolutely indistinguishable from the rest of the movie. Frankly, it's the best part of the movie, if for no other reason than it means we can finally, finally, stop watching. The special features include trailers for BLOOD RANCH, HEADHUNTER, REALITY KILLS, and VLAD. All in all, welcome to my list, boys and girls of BLOOD RANCH. Your puerile, pathetic attempts at blood-drenched terror have left me revolted and regretting the eighty minutes of my life you've consumed with this second-rate bottom of the barrel garbage.
RATING: NO STARS (out of four)