Nightblade (2016) – Murder Mystery Movie Review

From Los Bastardz Productions comes the latest in murder mystery slashers. Nightblade tells the story of three childhood friends trying to hunt down a knife-wielding maniac who seems to want them – and everyone they know – dead in a puddle of their own gore. Will they survive long enough to stop the slaughter?

Nightblade was co-directed, co-produced and co-written by Jim O’Rear (Volumes of Blood 2015, Monsters Among Men 2017) and Scott Tepperman (SyFy’s Ghost Hunters International TV series, Don’t Look in the Basement 2 2015), the two guys behind Los Bastardz Productions. They also star in the film, along with Betsy Rue (Halloween II 2009), Diff’rent Strokes Todd Bridges, Nikki Strange (Blood Moon River 2017) and Robert LaSardo (Nip/Tuck TV series). The music was composed and mixed by O’Rear and Tracy Horenbein (Magnetic Highway: The Rise, Fall and Resurgence of the Independent Video Store 2017) while The Hospital 2‘s (2015) Constance Medran and Kealani Hughes were in charge of makeup.

The official synopsis:

When three childhood friends are brought back together after years apart, a string of mysterious and brutal Jack the Ripper inspired murders erupt, pitting friends against foes in this 1980s-style police thriller.

Andy (Tepperman), a disgraced cop who just lost his wife and daughter in a shooting, is convinced by his old friend Nicky (O’Rear) to help him to run his strip club called The Pleasure Dome. Another childhood friend, the beautiful Jade (Rue), also happens to work at the club – both as a stripper and bookkeeper. The friends think they’ve got all of Nicky’s legal – and illegal – issues out of the way when one of their girls (Strange) is killed on her way home from work one night. Girls keep dying, and Detective Francesco (Bridges) joins the three friends to hunt down the killer.

Covered in a grungy, grimy veil of ’80s haze, Nightblade bleeds Miami Vice and Magnum, P.I., from the boxy, older model cars to the flashy white dinner jackets and Hawaiian shirts. I, for one, love the ’80s, so watching for those little touches were some of my favorite parts of the film. I was slightly disappointed that the gore was at a minimal. I thought with a description like “Jack the Ripper inspired murders,” I would have seen more blood and viscera. But alas, this was not to be so. There were plenty of naked boobs, but not nearly enough bloodshed.

The movie focused a lot on the friendship/relationships between Nicky, Andy and Jade, which was great for characterization but not much else. The fact that Betsy Rue looked so much like Andrea from The Walking Dead was a bit distracting but not anything that could have been helped. Most people probably wouldn’t even have noticed. Tepperman was a bit flat as an actor, but both ORear and Rue were fantastic in their roles.

I absolutely loved Nicky. His smartass comments, his whiny, of-putting voice and loud shirts made him my favorite character by far. He also reminded me of someone – Steve Buscemi’s character, Carl, from Fargo – and once I thought it, I couldn’t stop thinking it. We might have seen a little too much of his lily white ass in Nightblade, but it was for comedy’s sake, so I’ll let it pass. I’d love to see Nicky show up in future Los Bastardz Productions, complete with his misogynistic behavior and pink feather boa.

The script was great – funny, witty and not too wordy. I can’t stand it when some filmmakers let their characters talk too much about unnecessary plot points just to fill time or because they don’t have the heart to cut their beloved character’s dialogue. This script was spot on. Listen hard and you’ll catch some clever gems. My favorite was the “Chalupacabra” talked about during the news report. I wonder what it tastes like?

Final thoughts:

Nightblade was a fantastic first film for Los Bastardz Porductions. The story was tight, the mystery deep and the action well-played. I would have liked to see more blood and less boobs, but maybe that’s just me. Check out Nightblade if you’re in the mood for a hilarious murder mystery that with a great twist.

About Tracy Allen

As the co-owner and Editor-in-Chief of, Tracy has learned a lot about independent horror films and the people who love them. Now an approved critic for Rotten Tomatoes, she hopes the masses will follow her reviews back to PopHorror and learn more about the creativity and uniqueness of indie horror movies.

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One comment

  1. Total awesomeness as ALWAYS! Although I may NEED eye bleach and frequent therapy sessions and nightmares now after seeing Jim assests, lol. 80’s stylish Murder storyline with 3 childhood friend’s, that will kee you on the edge of your seats. Pay attention, because WHAT you think is going on, just might surprise you! HAHAHA Seriously though Los Bastardz killed this production, they’re great friends and colleagues as well as actor’s and producer’s. The entire cast and crew were phenominal: Betsy Rue, Todd Bridges, Robert La Sardo and HEY Robbin Terry gotta smile man! LOVED it!!! ALL thumbs up, proud of you guy’s! Normally I pass out during movies, NOT once with these guy’s EVER!!! I would have NEVER guessed that, well NOT going to spoil the killer so EVERYONE go out and get YOUR copy TODAY! Los Bastardz Follow THEM, support them, much love they deserve it!!!