I have been a fan of Daniel Murphy and Tom Komisar’s HM&M Films for about a year or so now, ever since I found out a friend of mine was in their killer clown home invasion film, House of Whores. This a film I still have a hard time watching all the way through due to it’s mass amounts of rape, genital mutilation and overall degradation. When I heard awhile back that they were doing a found footage creature feature, I honestly didn’t know what to think but I have always respected Daniel and Tom for managing to make sick and twisted horror films for little to no money while steadily growing in ambition and fan base, so I let myself excited. Was that excitement warranted or wasted?
Blood Moon River is the latest film from HM&M Films. It was directed by Daniel Murphy (And Then You Die 2013) from a script by Murphy and Tom Komisar (Night of the Dolls 2014). The film stars Sara Ingram (Dane Granger 2016), Nikki Strange (Nightblade 2016), Rebekah Erb, Stan Traylor, Tony Walters, Tom Komisar (The Hospital 2 2015), Cara McConnell, Sydney Dean, Cameron Scott (Nightblade 2016), Daniel Murphy (House of Whores 2015), James Michael, Eric Reaume (Night of the Dolls 2014), R.J. Cecott (And Then You Die 2013), Lindsey McIntire (House of Whores 2015), Naphatia St Pierre (Ezekiel’s Landing 2015), and Jack Norman (The Wicked One 2016). The plot follows a group of friends who travel to Blood Moon River to try to disprove a local legend.
Let me start by saying the best way to enter this film is with no expectations. This film starts as one thing before becoming another and just when you think you know what to expect, fuck your expectations, it flips them again. But wait, there’s more! All the elements I’ve come to expect from Tom and Daniel are present with some unexpected elements. The film is chock full of beautiful women, nudity, gore, humor, and even one attempted rape (although it is fairly tame by HM&M standards).
The film, while retaining some of the grit they are known for, is their most accessible and polished work. At the same time, I’m sure it will be a film that is highly divisive because it’s not one that fits all neat and tidy into a box. This is a film that does what it wants and doesn’t care what you think. Other than saying that, I won’t be discussing story elements as it would be really easy to slip into spoiler territory and I promised to avoid them.
Now that that is out of the way, lets talk about the technical side of the film. For a found footage film, Blood Moon River is pretty well shot. While it does feature some moments of shaky cam, it’s not as excessively done as most FF films. The gore is nicely done and, while not being a complete bloodbath, does feature a nice throat slashing, an eye stab, an exploding head and a decapitation, as well as some other gore.
The acting is good all around, from the newcomers to the HM&M regulars. I’m going to single out 2 actresses in particular: Sydney Dean and Nikki Strange. Sydney is a complete newcomer to film work and I was utterly impressed with her acting range. There is one crucial scene where the entire emotional weight is on her and she fucking nailed it. I can’t wait to see more from her. Anyone who knows me knows I am a huge fan of Nikki Strange. Over the past year of watching her films, I have seen her go from what she herself admitted was a terrible performance in Night of the Dolls (I still enjoy it – her character has attitude and charm) to giving what is arguably her strongest performance to date. In only a couple years of acting, her ability has grown by leaps and bounds. Mark my words, in a few more years, she will be a name that is known by horror fans everywhere.
Blood Moon River is a film that was not at all what I expected. I thought I knew where it was going but it caught me off guard and just when I thought I had it figured out, it took me by surprise again. I applaud Tom and Daniel for always doing their own thing and never playing it safe. They are a team to watch out for. If you like horror films that aren’t afraid to toy with your expectations as well as your emotions, than I recommend you watch this one as soon as you get the chance. Check back with PopHorror for more news as well as a release date for Blood Moon River.