Written/directed by Jason R. Miller, Bloodhound has a lot going for it in theory and sadly theory alone. It's a modern day noir film through the filter of first person type footage. The film follows protagonist Abel Walker (Ed Ackerman), a private investigator who we meet on his first case, where a woman hires him to follow her husband. The shocking end result of that case which is all caught on Walker's camera, ends up being the catalyst for his career...
...The viewer follows Walker on two more cases, the latter of which leads to his camera being destroyed. This happens because one of the people who he is following finds him and destroys it, which makes sense, however as a viewer it reeks of moving the plot along and the need for more than one camera angle. So, this leads Abel to hire a reality TV cameraman Jim (David Foy) to follow him for the remainder of the movie. Storywise, this also allows for more cameras and for the viewers to see Abel on screen. The first person point of view is abandoned, and a more found footage type of camera work is deployed. Abel and Jim are then hired on the last case of the film. Case #25 is that of a missing person, and the amateur sleuth and his cameraman must race against time to find out the truth of what happened to the missing woman. The ending is an effective and surprisingly decent twist, however the minuses are far more than the plusses.
The plot of this film is pretty exciting and unique but is wasted by mediocre acting by some of the cast, terrible pacing, and a script that just lacks common sense. The story keeps putting the main characters in situations where they are in way over their head, and at least once one of the protagonists suggests that they need to call the cops. Abel and Jim agree, and then they don't, which ultimately sends them down an even more harrowing path, where more terrible things happen and they agree to call the cops again, then don't. Only once during the multiple times this happens, do the antagonists specifically warm them "No Cops." It's hard to watch seemingly two sensible characters continue to throw themselves into more immediate and damning danger. It is nonsensical and constantly takes the viewer out of the film. The best scene in the movie is completely undercut by the illogical narrative that these characters continue to follow. Sure, it advances the plot forward but it really only needs one scene where they feel they are way out of their league. In a 112 minute runtime, to have 4 different scenes with almost the exact same dialogue is disappointing.
Another unnecessary continual bit is where Abel Walker pontificates like he is a private eye from the golden age of cinema. It comes off amateurish and ultimately silly. There is a cringe-worthy scene where he is very thoroughly describing the motive behind the suspected kidnapper, and it is so banal and basic it almost made this reviewer scream in frustration. However, towards the end he is called out for essentially trying too hard in a scene that in a more well-executed film would have made the foolishness of the concept work a lot better.
There is some good in Bloodhound, such as a very intense discovery of photographs hanging in a bathtub that is both shocking and effective, and the film needed more sure of itself moments like this. Instead we are left with too many nonsensical and derived scenes.
One other high point is the score, which creates a compelling addition to certain scenes, but being mixed with the lackluster voice over and overall subpar film it feels lost in the mix of a muddling and silly film. Ultimately, Bloodhound is a film of potential squandered by mediocrity.
Bloodhound sniffs DVD/VOD January 7th from High Octane Pictures.
By Justin Drabek