Reel Advice from the Video Store Guy

Disturbance | Baby Blood

By Steve Anderson
Decemeber 1st, 2006

DisturbanceDisturbance
*
DVD
Directed by Nick Vallelonga
Written by Nick Vallelonga
Starring Nick Vallelonga, Paul Sloan, Colleen Porch, Hayley DuMond
Produced by Nick Vallelonga
96 mins
NR
2006

Let's make a crossgenre pie this week, folks. How, you ask? It's not as hard as you think. Though you're not likely to enjoy the results.

First off, let's take one part action pointless violence, one part science fiction confusing random alien encounter, and one part gooshy horror low-budget slime mess. Mix them all together in a big old pot of DVD plastic and half-bake the entire concept in a pan lined with the worst script you could find and the result is "Disturbance", a big steamy pile of waste of our time.

So what we have here plotwise is a real winner. Basically, some guy named Hud Masters, a serial killer on Death Row, got his execution faked by a clandestine government agency. They then injected him with an alien fetus that allows him to hunt, fight, and kill a rogue alien race that left their planet and now uses captured human bodies to move around in. And apparently, they need a whole lot of human bodies, because Hud and company are out in full force to wipe out the aliens who--in a twist of fate--are also working to avoid their own extinction.

Got that?

Yeah, it's confusing. Believe me, I know. I just watched it and even I barely know what's going on.

What it all amounts to is a whole lot of people barfing up glow in the dark green slime and fighting some guy with a shaved head. Over, and over, and over again.

And as if that weren't bad enough, old Hud is going to be desperately thirsty most of the time, and occasionally, he'll hallucinate. Plus, the aliens will even start feeling remorse for all their body snatching. The whole process just gets weirder and weirder.

Though on the plus side, "Disturbance" moves at a lightning pace. The first half hour was done before I even bothered looking at the time counter. Yet sadly, they can't keep this pace up for long, and by the end of the second half hour, it's crawling, limping along at a pace that makes me check the clock wondering when this is finally, finally, going to be over with.

The ending is a little sad, a lot trite, even more incomprehensible, and makes me happy just by virtue of the whole thing finally being over with, like some kind of endurance test. However, there will be one nice out-of-nowhere surprise at the end, almost a consolation gift for having sat through this mess.

The special features include audio options, film commentary, Spanish subtitles, a behind the scenes featurette, biographies, and trailers for "Americano", "Confession", "Backlash", and "Disturbance".

All in all, "Disturbance" is a long, dull trainwrecked combination of action, horror and science fiction that's as half-baked as it is poorly planned.

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Baby BloodBaby Blood
***
DVD
Directed by Alain Robak
Written by Alain Robak, Serge Cukier
Starring Emmanuelle Escourrou, Jean Francois Gallotte, Christian Sinniger, Francois Frappier
Produced by Ariel Zeitoun, Joelle Malberg, Irene Sohm
NR
84 mins
1989 / 2006

Anchor Bay hauls up another old wreck from the deep--but is this one worth salvaging? So what we have here plotwise is--get this--a ravenous, quasi-sentient parasite crawls into a French circus performer for the express purpose of being born of a human being. But in order for it to get big and strong and born, it needs a whoooooole lot of blood. Thus, new French circus mommy has to go out and slaughter up a whole bunch of people to feed the "baby". There are days, folks, when I type up a quick plot synopsis and even I wonder what I was on when I wrote that. Clearly, this is not your normal average everyday horror flick. I do approve of how the cage handling scene, done within the first ten minutes, is almost a mirror for the cage handling scenes from "Dead Alive". "Dead Alive" also shot its cage handling scenes from an inside the cage perspective, so "Baby Blood" either took its cues well or started a legend on its way. Despite the almost alarming amount of fake blood being splashed, dashed, and otherwise thrown around the sets, it's not what you would call gratuitous, gore-for-gore's sake filmmaking. I'm amazed to say it, but all the splatter is actually necessary to the plot. Just as a bit of the aside, check out the prices at the gas station around half an hour in. Man, I got the cold chills just looking at them and I'm not even French. Possibly the scariest moment of "Baby Blood" was looking at a gas station sign that read "5.65". Yeah, I know...I'm scared too. Not to mention a bit of wishful thinking--there's a poster for "Baby Blood 2" in here, with "coming soon" over the top of it. Nice try, fellas. Perhaps my one real problem with "Baby Blood" was the subtitles. Having them is great, sure...but they could've meshed with the dialogue a bit better. It wasn't to the point of sheer incomprehensibility--they at least got the gist of every point--but they really could've made the two match up better. The ending is really rather unsettling, not only for what you actually see, but for the implications of it all. When you see it yourself, you'll understand more what that means. And when you think about it, man...creepy.

The special features include English subtitles and trailers for "Baby Blood", "Superstition", "Warning Sign", "Cemetery Man" ("Dellamorte Dellamore" for those of you who follow the original titles), and "The Evil Dead".

All in all, it's another salvaged hit for Anchor Bay with "Baby Blood". Maybe not the best one they've had, granted...but it's not as though this is any kind of bad. Some genuine shocks combine with an overall pervasive creepiness to yield a movie that's quite solidly put together.

Want to receive an expanded version of Reel Advice as an E-Newsletter?? Email to thevideostoreguy@columnist.com with "The Advisor" in the subject line.  Steve Andersen, much to his own chagrin, is a five-plus year veteran of the direct to video market. He has spent an alarming amount of time in video stores and seeks to provide the public with advance information on all the video releases that they may never have heard of...whether they want to hear of them or not. Steve appears in one way or another weekly, biweekly, or monthly on such fine entertainment-related ezines as Film Threat, Dream Forge, Reel Horror, Acid Logic, Chaotic Culture Magazine, Malicious Bitch webzine, and many others. Readers, agents, or editors can email Steve at thevideostoreguy@columnist.com




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