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Saturday, July 20, 2019

BLOOD PARADISE -- DVD Review by Porfle

Who'd have thunk it? It turns out Texas doesn't have a monopoly on clans of tightly-wound yokels suffering from too much isolation and a surfeit of plain old down-home "coo-coo."  Which is what novelist Robin Richards discovers when she travels to Sweden for a quiet, secluded farm getaway and ends up right in the middle of BLOOD PARADISE (Artsploitation Films, 2018).

And if you thought that sentence was tortured, just wait'll you see what's in store for Robin (co-writer and co-producer Andréa Winter) after her latest twisted-sex novels drive readers away and her agent suggests she head for the Swedish hills to get her head back together. 

It seems farmers are opening their doors to guests who want to escape the city for the pastoral experience and surround themselves with cows, chickens, and, in this particular case, some vaguely not-all-there people like farmer Rolf (Rolf Brunnström), his creepy mute sister, his surly son who likes to carry a sniper rifle around, and Rolf's dead wife who's buried in the garden...or is she?

Even the driver (Christer Cavallius) who picks Robin up at the train station and takes her to Rolf's farm is a weird fellow who's a big, big fan of Robin's books and has "stalker" written all over him.

His name is Hans Bubi (a "Die Hard" reference perhaps?) and he's my favorite character because he's just such a manic oddball (I love his frantic arguments with his jealous, plant-obsessed wife) who I hoped would turn out to be a good guy and not just another member of the creep crowd.

Anyway, with all of that established, BLOOD PARADISE is all set to start keeping us in a state of tense suspense for the rest of its running time. Director Patrick von Barkenberg takes his sweet time letting the story unfold just quickly enough for us to savor every moment of growing unease and mystery as Robin warily observes the actions of her hosts as they grow more suspicious and unsettling.

The film itself is a visual treat, each shot nicely composed with lots of little directorial touches that are oddly satisfying.  Performances never go over the top, and the film is refreshingly devoid of the usual jump scares and musical stings. It isn't even all that gory.

Indeed, what happens to Robin (and some other unfortunate people around her) might've been turned into the same tired old torture porn working itself into a lather trying to "scare" us, but instead we're drawn into an increasingly engrossing scenario that carries us along on a wave of pure, skin-crawling suspense.

The low-key, non-sensationalistic nature of BLOOD PARADISE is one of its most pleasing qualities, along with a bone-dry sense of humor.  We're able to identify with Robin and thus slowly get up inside the story and experience each and every disturbing little pastoral perversion along with her.  And the film itself is so finely-wrought that despite its potent capacity for horror, it's a pleasure to watch.

More info and where to buy

Product Details

    Format: DVD (also available in Blu-ray)
    Catalog: ART67
    UPC: 851597006773
    Country: Sweden
    Language: English (with optional subtitles)
    Rating: NR
    Year: 2018
    Length: 84 min.
    Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital, 2.0 Stereo
    Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
    Bonus material: Four deleted scenes, 2 Music Videos: "Dreamer" by Baby Yoga, "You and Me" by Baby Yoga


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