Courtesy of Well Go USA, I have the pleasure of reviewing the brand new (comes out today!) U.S. DVD of Blood. Not to be mistaken with the recent Blood: the Last Vampire movie, it is apparant you can never have enough Japanese live action vampire flicks. Director Ten Shimoyama, who gave us one of the better ninja movies in recent years with Shinobi: Heart Under Blade, makes sure this doesn’t stray into Twlight territory by giving us a very mature themed film. Recently demoted within the ranks of the police force for exposing several highly respected officials involved in a political scandal, Detective Hoshino is reduced to investigating long-shelved, unsolved cases just before their respective statutes of limitations expire. His latest assignment leads him to the mansion of a voluptuous heiress to investigate the 14-year-old murder of one of her former maids.
Off the bat, there is a lot of good, and a lot of misfires. First being, the script is extremely predictable, however the fighting and wire work is quite entertaining. Fight choreography and stunt work was overseen by Keiya Tabuchi, a veteran stunt actor who previously worked on The Last Samurai. Some fairly steamy sex and a scene in which a nude girl is bound and murdered establish an adult tone. Like I said earlier, this isn’t your little sister’s vampire movie. It takes some elements from the popular myth but goes its own way, making for a unique viewing experience.
So, if you’ve been following my words thus far, it is safe to assume Blood is a vampire film that is more about its romance and bloody violence than focusing on being a vampire film. It may not be for everyone but if you are wanting a Japanese horror film with a lot of gratuitous nudity and its fair share of bloody moments, you’ll enjoy this. The acting performances don’t do the admittedly impressive production values justice, but leading lady Aya Sugimoto is simply a joy to watch on screen. And I don’t just say that because she is spending a great deal of the films 85 minute running time unclothed!
In conclusion, yes it is a vampire film, but the vampire theme is really neither here nor there. It really is a tale of eroticism and most of the sex scenes are shot with a genuine aim at titillation. Shimoyama mixes these erotic vampires with ancient Samurai warriors making Blood the next evergreen horror classic from Japan. We have a strong catalog of Japanese horror titles and Blood fits nicely into the mix. I think you could do a lot worse with your time then watching whether or not Hoshino or Ukyo battle one another for the privilege of staying with Miyako for eternity. Great entertainment!