Subspecies IV: Bloodstorm (1998)

After an accident, Michelle ends up in the rural clinic of Dr. Niculescu, who seems to specialise in drug rehab and rejuvenation programmes for rich people. The dark vampire lord Radu is still looking for her, and sets up a new base of operations in Bucharest, upsetting the comfortable life of some vampires there. As the interests of all involved overlap and their aims at times contradict each other, Michelle and a young woman name Ana are turned into pawns in a game of power-grabs involving the Blood Stone.

 

Some years after he had finished his Subspecies trilogy, Ted Nicolaou decided to write a fourth part after all. That timing allowed Denice Duff to return from her baby break and slip back into the role of Michelle, and Anders Hove was also back on board. For the rest of the characters, Nicolaou twisted the script and retconned certain events so that he could write characters in or out of the film, depending on the availability of the actors in question.

Maybe as a consequence of this issue, four major new characters have been added to the franchise in this fourth film, and all of them are really welcome additions that enrich this rather stale franchise. At least one of these characters has been plucked from Vampire Journals, an independent Subspecies spin-off Nicolaou had done one year prior. The various competing agendas make Bloodstorm‘s plot far more interesting than any of the previous stories, without the plot ever becoming confusing.

It helps that the actors in these new roles (Jonathon Morris, Floriela Grappini, Ioana Abur, and Mihai Dinvale) are all delivering first rate performances. In addition to Duff and Hove slipping seamlessly back into their old roles, this means that you have a films here where the acting leaves very little to be desired, for a B-movie.

 

As with the previous films, you have some CG shadow work, some gore, and some sexploitation elements.

Minor downsides in this film include annoying opening credits (which should carry an epileptic seizure warning), and an ending that feels a bit rushed.

 

The multitude of players in the story’s power game means that you never have a lull in this film. All the previous instalments in this franchise suffered to various degrees from feeling “empty”, of feeling too long in spite of rather short running times. With a net running time of over 83 minutes, Bloodstorm is the longest film of the lot, but it is definitely the one that feels the shortest.

Because of this, and because of the quality of the performances and the interesting plot (relatively speaking), I enjoyed this film much more than any of its predecessors, and am ready to rate it as high as 6 out of 10.

Advertisements

2 Comments

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s