Friday, 23 October 2015

Bloody Knuckles (2014) - Comedy Horror Film Review

Bloody Knuckles is a Canadian horror directed by Matt O'Mahoney due for release by Artsploitation Films. It features as it's main focus a severed hand which acts in the vein of Thing from The Addams Family crossed with Ash's evil hand off of Evil Dead II with a bit of Idle Hands thrown in for good measure, obviously making the film a horror comedy.

Travis (Adam Boys) is a controversial underground comic writer who tries his best to offend with his publication. After his latest issue pokes fun at local Chinese businessman Leonard Fong he finds himself kidnapped, for Mr Fong is secretly the head of the Golden Dragons; a local criminal gang. Wanting to give a lesson he orders his gang to cut off Travis's writing hand. With his lesson learnt a defeated Travis abandons his art, but things don't go so smoothly when his now somehow sentient severed hand inexplicably turns up wanting revenge on the Golden Dragons...

Bloody Knuckles is a fun film, it takes itself seriously enough to not fall into goofy territory and there are some quite morose moments, but again going back to the severed hand it is just a gloriously silly plot device. The appendage has great special effects, maybe a remote controlled hand used? Either way it manages to exert a lot of personality being tenacious, driven and with a mind of it's own. Some of the best moments come with the hand and Travis getting into physical arguments. Travis is terrified of Mr Tong and is a defeated being, but with his hand purposely goading the man by continuing to draw pictures of him, as well as printing damning news reports on the loved businessman events soon move forward.

There is a lot of blood and gore here, it would be remiss to just focus on the hand as there are plenty more pretty cool and blood soaked moments here. With decapitations, amputations, stabbings and gun shots over the top Brain Dead style of practical body effects keep things exciting, even someone who gets dissolved from the inside out! Favourite gore scene has to be when gay super hero 'Homo Dynamus' (a large man wearing S and M gear) gets a shuriken flung into his leather bondage mask he immediately turns round and headbutts an attacker in the eye, pulling his head back he brings with him the poor assailants severed eye; just so fun and silly.

There is a weird vibe here in Bloody Knuckles, life is cheap and the police are so corrupt as to not care what happens in the city, the characters are all quite weird. Travis himself is quite a lame character, after an initial spiel about the freedom to offend he becomes quite winy, being used as a foil of the more direct hand, this is taking nothing away from Boys whose portrayal is spot on. Gabrielle Giraud as Amy his love interest fits well as a reporter, and the use of two different media forms as a show of how freedom of speech should never be banned was interesting. This message is never heavy handed and actually means something in the real world where real life controversial cartoonists get killed. The gay superhero is probably the strangest of the lot and has a lot of one liners that become funny due to this man's serious tone. Bloody Knuckles is anti homophobia and so what could have caused offence (such as a seedy gay club where used condoms litter the floor) is reduced, while this is balanced out with just as grimy heterosexual scenes.

Aside from the over the top gore this also features some pretty great set design, at least for Travis's apartment which is full of interesting things to look at, such as a fake horses head mounted on the wall. Tong's base on the other hand is the polar opposite being sparse and full of cardboard boxes, I'm sure this was intentional to show the difference between the two opposing forces but it made the final scenes a bit bland. On the subject of slight faults there are a couple of minor plot holes such as how Travis is able to draw when he only has one hand. The whole middle arc of Travis trying to cope with having an artificial hand dragged ever so slightly also.

I had a lot of fun watching Bloody Knuckles, while it sometimes seemed a bit too dirty and grimy, on the whole the majority of the acting was not bad and the humour is inoffensive and occasionally shines, especially with the anarchic severed hand who does all sort of belligerent things to cause offence. Of course special mention goes to the over the top special effects and the whole strange vibe given off that makes it seem like it could even be one of Travis's own comic strips. A potential cult classic in the making. Bloody Knuckles is due for release on 27th October on VOD, DVD and Blu-ray.


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