Genre : Action
Rating : Unrated
Few things are as enjoyable as a good anthology film. Dating back to the early 1930’s the film anthology has become one of the most enduring types of movie. Typically held together with a common theme or overarching story anthologies have become a great place to not only see your favorite directors’ step outside of their comfort zone but also discover up-and-coming directors with the latest being Blood, Sweat and Terrors.
Produced by horror staples such as Rue Morgue Magazine and Raven Banner, Blood, Sweat and Terrors doesn’t have a focus on the macabre. Instead the focus is on the action genre. Featuring a collection of directors from around the world each short focuses on a different action sub-genre. With such a diverse group of stories and no overarching story it’s hard to review Blood, Sweat and Terrors as a whole. So, here’s a look at each short and how each of them rates out of five.
Empire of Dirt
Director- Adam Mason
Writer- Paul Sloan
After some brief credits (and cheesy CG explosions) Blood, Sweat and Terrors opens up with Empire of Dirt. Perhaps the most “horror” of the shorts what starts off looking like a John Wick knock off becomes about a man slowly dealing with his own personal hell. All the while trying to discover who, or what, is torturing him. Feeling more like a pitch video for a television show or a comic book I think there’s potential in the idea. But as an action short, Empire of Dirt stumbles. Despite some cool practical effects, the computer effects can be spotty and fight choreography feeling rudimentary. There’s definitely something cool here I’m just not sure it works as an opening for Blood, Sweat and Terrors. 2.5/5
Director- Benjamin de Los Santos
Writer- Benjamin de Los Santos
I have to admit I was a bit wary of Awesome Runaway. Opening with a violent interrogation it leads into a mostly-single shot action scene that gets more fantastical as it goes on. Despite some uneven fight choreography Awesome Runaway pulls it all together with a twist ending I didn’t see coming. 3/5
Director- Alexander Carriere
Writer- Alexander Carriere
Opening on a post-apocalyptic world Jacob is on the war path after the death of his daughter but things aren’t what they seem. As far as a story plot Jacob’s Wrath is the first short to really have a complete narrative. With questions of what is real and what isn’t Jacob’s Wrath was the first short that really impressed me. 4/5
Director- Shelagh Rowan-Legg
Writer- Shelagh Rowan-Legg
Just because you are fighting an oppressive government doesn’t mean that everything else stops. Two women are about to strike when her monthly visitor shows up. Like Empire of Dirt, I dig this idea. It is a clever twist on the badass women trope. Unfortunately, everything else falls part. With little actual action and poor special effects, Flow is the movie’s low point. 0.5/5
Director- Beau Fowler
Writer- Beau Fowler
Taken to an abandoned lot by a hitman only known as The Postman, ne’er do well Swifty (director Beau Fowler) is more than meets the eye. Although the story is rudimentary the action is spectacular. With fight choreography by Sonny Louis (who played the Postman) the martial arts action is fast and furious and a clever script Express Delivery is a good comeback after Flow. 3.5/5
Director- Will Gilbey
Writer- Will Gilbey
After the action heavy Express Delivery things slow down with Turncoat. Breaking into a criminal’s home two crooked cops illegally search the premise for a big score. The highlight of Turncoat is the writing. Will Gilbey (A Lonely Place to Die) does a great job ratcheting up the tension as the minutes tick by. The problem with Turncoat, at least in this collection, is that it is light on action. More of a thriller than action it feels like an odd fit in Blood, Sweat and Terrors. 2.5/5
Director- Adam Horton, Joe Horton
Writer- Adam Horton, Joe Horton, Simon Uttley
After a viral outbreak the dead return from the grave. It isn’t the end though. Television star and survivalist Hunter Smith has used this opportunity for profit with his show Get Some. The idea of a zombie comedy isn’t particularly original nor is using zombies in a reality tv setting. Despite this Get Some sticks out thanks to a combination of a fun script and great casting. If it weren’t for its frustratingly open ending it would be the best short in the collection. 4/5
Director- Olaf Svenson
Writer- Olaf Svenson
In this tale of revenge, the young Olga goes after the men who killed her father. Finding them in a mob-owned diner she vows vengeance by any means necessary. Similar to movies such as Haywire this female-driven revenge thriller puts its focus on crisp hand-to-hand combat. Featuring a variety of styles, we see everything from knife play to martial arts and even a little bit of lucha libre. Although the story feels a bit overly familiar, I would love to see this expanded into a full movie. 4.5/5
Director- Daniel Bernhardt
Writer- Daniel Bernhardt
With alimony due and his life hitting the skids private investigator John ‘Fetch’ Fetcher gets the case of a lifetime. Starring David Leitch (director of Deadpool 2, Atomic Blonde) Fetch feels like the most ambitious short of the bunch. Taking on a more sardonic tone Fetch does a magnificent job telling its story without taking itself too seriously. And while the movie can lean a little too heavily into the comedy elements, stellar fight choreography has us leaving Blood, Sweat and Terrors on a high note. 4/5
Admittedly Blood, Sweat and Terrors is a bit of a tough sell. With each short being so different from the next one, the project lacks any sense of cohesion. So instead of telling a good story or working thematically we get a collection of short stories that can be hit or miss. With that said it rarely bores thanks to a great combination of talent both in front and behind the camera. And while it may never be considered a classic Blood, Sweat and Terrors is perfect as a jolt of energy for any action connoisseur.
Links : IMDB
Blood, Sweat and Terrors is now available on VOD, Bluray and DVD.
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