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Blood Shot
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by Katharine Leis

"I canít believe what I just saw, but I want to see more of it."
5 stars

From the program, I wasnít really too interested in watching this movie. Iím not a huge fan of action films, let alone action films with a vampire as the lead character. Within about ten seconds, I was sucked in to Blood Shot, and there remained until the closing credits.

Michael Bailey Smith plays a large, angry vampire. Not just any large, angry vampire, but one who works with the CIA to assassinate terrorists. Smith not only shines in this role, he owns it. I even asked a friend during the movie, ďHey, is this guy famous?Ē I thought maybe I didnít recognize him with the character makeupÖhe was just that good.

Darrin Reed and Deke Anderson were also great in their roles, as a cop and the CIA Director of the Vampire Division, respectively. Reed reminded me of Bruce Willis in the Die Hard series, the guy who is not too bright but really determined to do his job. Anderson was hilariously sober during his portrayal of the CIA Director, and made the lines work even more.

The story goes that the cop is after the vampire, who he thinks is a murderer. He soon finds out that the vampire is actually on his side, and is already on a mission to stop a terrorist cell in LA.

The gore factor heats up here tremendously, but is mixed in with more laughs and terrific stunts. The cinematography of Marie Chao was beautiful, but always adding to the film and never a distraction.

The film was shot on 35 mm, and after checking the website, I found that this was actually a student thesis film. That just about knocked me off my chair. Iíve seen student films. Iíve seen GOOD student films. This one puts every one Iíve ever seen to shame.

Also from the website, I found that Blood Shot is currently in pre-production to become a feature length movie. Well, there went my only complaint. This version is 21 minutes, and it felt more like five or six. The only time I was disappointed was when the credits started to roll.

Blood Shot has been scoring big on its tour of the festivals, including awards for best film, best actor, best cinematography, and best sound. The only surprise to me is that thereís no accompanying ďbest directorĒ award to go along with them.

Dietrich Johnston knows what heís doing, and throws off the bell curve for many aspiring filmmakers. But, if you donít get a chance to see Blood Shot at any festivals, donít worry, youíll see plenty more of Johnston in the future.

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originally posted: 01/29/04 15:01:16
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  05-Nov-2002 (NR)



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