Imagine a horror movie set amongst an exciting reality-show competition where the winner receives $1,000,000, and an open door into an entertainment career. Now envision a runtime of over two hours, with occasional celebrity cameos, sporadic death scenes, and a complete over-explanation of literally every facet of the narrative to the point of exhaustion. As much promise as Blood Pageant has, it’s weighed down by the lengthy runtime (just shy of two hours) and takes itself far too seriously.
The problems start with Blood Pageant from very early on, and from here they only spiral into mediocrity. Amy (Juliana Destefano) will do wherever it takes to succeed as she gets picked for the competition “American Dream,” working closely with her life coach, Liz (Natasha Blasick) to channel new age religion. Little does Amy know, Liz may have more nefarious motives involving an ancient curse that threatens to turn the “American Dream” into an “American Nightmare!”
All the TV personalities are completely one-note, despite the heavy focus on character. Occasionally there will be a witty line that lands, but so little effort is put into the script that it’s difficult to care. “The only shot you’re good for is body shots,” one man says about a catty blonde celeb. Another quote that made me laugh was “you will eat your words, and don’t worry: they’re gluten free.”
I think maybe writers Chris Gilmore and Anthony Sands thought reality-TV types would be easy to choreograph; instead, it only serves to reinforce how hollow and vapid they are. The devoutly religious blonde has an encounter with a crazy female demon. Another bitchy girl gets slayed off-screen when a suit of armor comes to life. The kills are mostly bloodless, forgettable, and poorly shot. The villain is credited on IMDB as ‘The Witch Ghost Demon,’ and not to lessen Vaness Vander Pluym’s contributions, but that’s just lazy.
Blood Pageant is a mess of tones, overlong, nonsensical, and worst of all: it’s just plain boring. Even Snoop Dogg (who plays himself as one of the judges in “American Dream”) is simply a waste, showing up only once or twice throughout, and once is just on a laptop screen via “FaceTalk.” If you care to watch reality-show based horror, you can do so much better. Wrong Turn 2: Dead End and Halloween: Resurrection are both significantly better films, with far superior kills and palpable suspense.
Blood Pageant auditions for your approval on streaming June 29th, followed by a DVD release on July 20th.