Artsploitation Films: Erotic Horror Cinema: Blood Paradise (2018) - Reviewed

Artsploitation Films is back at it with their latest exercise in horror, Blood Paradise. Borrowing heavily from numerous films that feature an author on vacation as she tries to escape the world to hone her next book, their newest rendering is a schlocky but mildly erotic number that once again plays to their strengths, even at the cost of originality. With a setup that echoes classics like I Spit on Your Grave or various other stories that see a beautiful woman left alone in a rural area, Blood Paradise is a mix of excellent looking visuals offset by a heavy dose of shallow writing that could have used some punching up to add some flavor to the mix. 

At an extremely short run time of around one hour and twenty minutes, there's some great exposition here that sees the stunning Andrea Winter turn her own writing into an indie horror flick. Where the film lacks is in its presentation or real semblance of an antagonist. Yes, we get the weird old redneck that likes to harass and violate women at his disposal. Unfortunately, the villain here doesn't carry any weight. With no backstory, no introduction, and a hampered effort at creating a vile character, viewers will ultimately be left wondering what's really going on. However, (the star) Winter does a great job at portraying the weary author that's beginning to question her own mortality as things get strange. 

Indie horror has suffered a bit over the last couple years. If often feels like these creators don't know where to find the ambition to play up the unique or dynamic. Blood Paradise definitely keeps the nudity and eroticism at a fever pitch throughout. And Winter carries herself with rich sensuality that never feels forced in the least. She's a complete natural on screen, with superb acting talents and obvious skills at putting pen to paper. And there's a definite amount of humor here that's poking satirical fun at this absolutely typical trope. Yet, I'm not sure that all viewers will get the joke. Sometimes, it's so buried under the overall theme that some might just not see the light through the fog.

Taking into account Artsploitation's rich catalog of world cinema that includes arthouse films, blood curdling horror, foreign drama, and a multitude of genre pieces, I can't say this is one of their strongest releases. However, this is definitely a turn in the right direction for the distributor. Nothing in film is ever perfect. And Blood Paradise gets enough right that we can easily say that the more detailed horror fan might find enough here to love. When it releases next week, maybe give it a chance. You might find something to enjoy. But we make no promises. 

-Chris George