After a series of horrific murders, Detective Jack Chaplin begins to question whether the killer is from this world or in fact a supernatural creation. Embarassing his bosses with his ludicrous theories, Jack is dismissed from the case and sacked from his job.
9 months later, the killer is still at large whilst Jack secretly continues his investigation from home with the aid of his former police partner Detective Hatcher. With 39 victims and counting, Jack must find the killer before any more innocent people are murdered.
Irish horror THE BLOOD HARVEST opens up in grisly fashion with a woman being brutally tortured. With her eye being stabbed out with a fork, the victim lays helplessly in her own home as the masked murderer does his worst. Gratuitous with very little story behind it, this shocking introduction sets the tone for the rest of the film which is basically a series of gruesome torture scenes. The loose story of a dismissed detective searching for the killers takes a back seat whilst the filmmakers show off their impressive skills of creating bloody, sickening kills on a budget. However, even as a horror fan, it leaves too much of a bad taste in the mouth as the story seems to have been sacrificed in exchange for jaw-dropping displays of gore.
With two masked killers on the loose, I was quite intrigued as to who were behind the masks. The mystery of masked antagonists is part of the attraction of using a disguise but when that mystery is revealed the magic is often lost. The two villains of THE BLOOD HARVEST give up their masked alter-egos very early on in the film to reveal their true identities. I was surprised that the characters we’re presented with underneath the masks verge on being mentally handicapped. Unfortunately, the personas of the characters and their penchant for blood all feels rather cheap and even the explanations and reasoning behind the way that they are and their motive for killing doesn’t go down as well as hoped.
Whilst I can appreciate this is a budget film and in many ways the filmmaking crew have done well with what they could afford, the story, pacing and script leave much to be desired. One of THE BLOOD HARVEST‘s main issues is that it struggles to get going and when it finally does, it seems to halt to only to start up again. This broken momentum coupled with a weak script and average storyline means the film is little more than a bloodthirsty shocker relying on visual scares.
Despite these issues, th film does have the occasional highlight. The masks in particular are quite interesting to look at with one looking like the skull welders mask used in John Dies At The End, and the other like some sort of warped Steampunk creation. I also enjoyed how the abductions and killings took part in isolated yet semi-public places, where it could easily have been anyone kidnapped and at the mercy of the killers, and that the entire film takes place during the daytime complete with the sounds of birds tweeting merrily in the background (quite the juxtaposition!).
As a whole, THE BLOOD HARVEST just lacks the tight knit story and execution needed to be more than just a gore-laden shocker.