Review: Blood Machines (Movie and Score)

Let’s face it: Blood Machines is not a “great” movie. It’s a live-action Heavy Metal story, with everything that implies.

The acting and dialogue are stilted. The plot is somehow both confusing and overly simplistic. And in some ways it kind of strikes me as something written by a guy who heard that feminism now lets women own their sexuality, and decided to focus on… well, women being sexy. So much so that it’s kind of difficult to find images from the film that are safe for work. And then threw in a bunch of upside-down cross imagery to feel edgier and show “rebellion”.

That said, though handled clumsily, it also manages to convey “Yeah, we’re looking at women being sexy – but they’re being sexy for themselves, not for your skanky ass.” They fight for their own liberation, and the true force of their sexuality is something far stronger than oppressive patriarchy. So it’s a bit of a mixed bag on that front.

But there’s two things that are undeniably awesome about Blood Machines.

First: The aesthetic and effects are just gorgeous. The retro-futurism, with nods to biomechanical Gieger-esque elements, are wonderful. You can get glimpses of what initially intrigued me in the trailer (slightly NSFW – there’s a few frames to be careful with):

Blood Machines is also a sorta-sequel to a music video, which probably explains a bit. If you’d like to get a sense of the tone of the film, starting with the four-odd minutes of Turbo Killer is probably a good idea (and it is SFW).

Turbo Killer also brings us to the other awesome thing about Blood Machines: Carpenter Brut’s score. It is absolutely killer synthwave / darksynth. Well worth checking out and getting on its own. (I’m not embedding it because the cover is also… well, NSFW, but you can find it at https://carpenterbrut.bandcamp.com/album/blood-machines-ost .)

All three parts of Blood Machines together are less than an hour, and while I continue to say it’s not a great film, if you’re already subscribed to Shudder (or have Shudder as an add-on from Amazon), it’s worth a watch.

And if you enjoy synthwave at all, you gotta check out that soundtrack.

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