Saturday, 4 May 2013

DVD review: Rites of Blood (2004)

It's the middle of 18th century and the Europe's witchcraft trials are coming slowly to their end.There are still a few people that can't recognise the finality of the witchhunts but still continue their path paved with pain, agony and death to rid the world of witchery. One of those in grim and cruel cardinal De Ceville (Mikka Vattulainen), who wanders the eastern Europe with reverend mother Catharine in religious zeal on their quest to rid the world of witchcraft...Marie (Nanda De Bruijn), a young and innocent country girl has been seduced by a Satan-worshipping witch-ring and is to take part in a sacrifice that can give an eternal life. A life eternal comes with a price tag, however, and the price is higher than Marie could ever imagine!!! In addition the cardinal and his men are right on the witch-ring's trail... Rites of Blood is written by Hanna Åstedt, Jari Mustonen and Sami Haavisto who also is the director. The acting is fairly decent but both Nanda De Bruijn and Mikka Vattulainen are good, especially Mikka as the diabolical De Ceville. The camerawork and editing is pretty good.
The soundtrack is VERY nice! The pace is pretty good, this plays it straight so there ain´t any intentional comic relief, and it feels pretty low-key and bleak. There is english audio, the finnish cast speak english with varied result during the first part of the movie, some are pretty good but it is hard to understand what some of them are saying. And later, after approx 42 minutes, when the flick shifts to present day we get english subtitles and finnish audio. I would think that the politically correct and religious might have problems with the scene where a nun takes her robe off and start fondling Jesus who have stepped down from the cross... In my opinion it´s one of the best scenes of the movie. Rites of Blood is pretty gory, the highlight is when a character gets her throat ripped out. People get shot, burned, hanged, stabbed and so on so there is a bit of graphic violence on screen even if it is not a gorefeast. There is gratuitous topless nudity, there is a prolonged sex-scene and a brief scene of lesbian action.
Support independent filmmaking and order your copy from Horror Shop .
This review is based upon the region all (Region 0) DVD release from Blood Ceremony Films, as mentioned it features english audio during the first part of the movie and english subtitles thereafter.
Rating: 5½ out of 7. Satanism, priests, nuns, violence, gore and nudity... I enjoyed this even if there are a few flaws. If you like your horror to be dark and low-key you should make an effort and buy a copy from Horror Shop (link above).


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