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Sunday, 3 May 2015

Blood Loss (2015) - A fabulous horror/thriller short from Scotland.

There's a lot going on here in Scotland at the moment, it is a genuinely exciting (and mostly positive) time in terms of political and social change. Independence may not have come for us (yet) who cherished the dream, but the desire for a different future still seems to burn bright......... However, you may be glad to know that piece of incisive and somewhat poetic example of political commentary will be about the limit of my political musings in this blog.

You see, what is even more exciting is the amount of Sci-fi/fantasy & horror work that is currently being produced and highlighted throughout this wonderful country these days - and I'm determined to hang on to the coat-tails of some of these marvellously creative individuals and continue to 'photo-bomb' their success. Don't judge me, there's nothing wrong in shamelessly basking in other people's glory and success.

There seems no end to the amount of seriously good projects going on, in this blog alone I've mentioned just a fabulous few: The brand new fantasy film heading our way soon THE FAIRY FLAG , the big bad and blue new Scottish comic superhero - SALTIRE, and of course the stomach tickingly exciting event at the end of this month taking place in my local city of Aberdeen - GRANITE CITY COMIC-CONScotland has long since had a fine tradition in horror and the such like, but all too often that work has originated in the so-called 'big two' of Glasgow and Edinburgh. Now except for the fact that they're not in the North East of Scotland, and so by definition it makes those places distinctly inferior, it does the heart good to help highlight some of the great work that is being produced even closer to my home.

This week I was asked if I would care to watch and review the brand spanking new debut short film 'Blood Loss', a horror/thriller made just down the road from me by an Arbroath-based film company - IronStar Films. Hmmm, I thought to myself, do I really want to? In all honesty  I was feeling a little lazy after something of a stressful (an in-your-face kind of stressful) week and quite frankly was feeling more than a little jaded and tired. In fact my weekend plans of no blogging contained nothing more complex than consuming a few beers.....and, er......well that was about it actually. As it turned out, there were a couple of reasons why I agreed to watch and review the film; One - the request itself came from a friend of mine, two - it's a local film and thirdly - the film itself wasn't going to take too much of my tired concentration as it runs for a nice 25 mins and 31 secs ........ yes I know that's actually three reasons, but as I told you, I'm tired.

The tiredness didn't actually last for long, because I was immediately drawn in to the extraordinary piece of film making that is Blood Loss.

"BLOOD LOSS  is a tale of retribution and redemption among a group of friends who find themselves in too deep.

When three friends are forced by a local criminal to sort out a potential problem, their plans end in a horrific accident destroying their lives forever.

Months later the three men are confronted with the possibility that not everything was as it seems and find themselves caught between a criminal who wants the job done and a victim who wants matter what side they choose, there's going to be ...Blood Loss."

One of the perks of my now legendary blogging escapades is getting to see new films that have yet to see the full light of distribution. In fact Blood Loss only had it's official premiere at the end of March at the Webster Memorial Theatre in Arbroath. Sadly though I wasn't there, though 200 guests did attend along with cast and crew to essentially pack out the theatre. However it could be that my invitation was lost in the post or eaten by a roaming deer or something, because I failed to receive the inevitable invite. That's the only logical reason I can think of. Either that or I may not be quite the legend in my own mind that I think I am....... nah, that would be stupid thinking.

The film stars former Rugby player, now model and actor - Craig McGinlay, Alan Cuthbert, Tom Ingram, Chris O'Mara and Demi Pearson. 

Safe to say that things are not going well 
for Messrs McGinlay (right), Ingram & O'Mara.....

Now you may call me a jealous, insecure and self-obsessed individual (well get in line, because you're not the first) but in my opinion that McGinlay chap is far too tall and good-looking for my liking, and for his own good. So alright, he's also in the upcoming fantasy epic, The Fairy Flag alongside fellow Blood Loss actor Alan Cuthbert and he may have been in numerous productions (including a recent commercial with David Bloody Beckham). I haven't even mentioned all that International girly modelling stuff that he gets paid for. The simple fact is that he's just too tall, athletic and displays the most glorious of beards. Not sure if I like him being good at all this stuff....leave some for the rest of us mere mortal men, eh mate?

What I do like though is Craig's performance of a man who is clearly haunted (in more ways than one) by his past actions as he appears alongside the rest of a fine ensemble cast in this remarkable first time effort from IronStar films. It has to be said that the overall quality of acting is very fine indeed. One of the occasional drawbacks of low-budget independent films is how the end result can sometimes by let down by below-par (or worse, over the top) acting. This can result in ensemble casts often being affected by one or two significantly weak performances. This doesn't happen here with a believable and effective range of acting throughout. I'm not sure whether this was actually the case, but what comes across is that the cast genuinely enjoyed getting their teeth into portraying a group of friends whose relationship and view of reality is about to disintegrate. Nicely done, people.

Perhaps the stand out element of Blood Loss is the cinematography - the quality of shooting throughout is confidently assured and at times borders on beautiful.
Yep, still not going well for Cuthbert either......

The filming, and consequent editing, provides a perfectly eerie and deliciously atmospheric quality to proceedings with a style very much of it's own. The lighting, particularly in the interior warehouse scenes provides a the perfect level of chills throughout as the movie reaches it's climax. This serves to make the building itself almost feel like another character in the plot and serves to convey an approach to filming that at times feels like an homage to previous films yet manages to feel fresh and innovative in its own right. This quite exquisitely shot film perfectly compliments the tight script from writer/director Graeme Carr.

If that wasn't enough there are three pieces of music that very nicely add to the overall quality of the experience, again a feature that emerging filmmakers often neglect. The three songs, 'Danger Man' by Courtneys Chain, 'Forgiven' by Lizabett Russo and 'Tonight' - also by the fabulous voice of Lizabett Russo. Lovely stuff.

This high quality of filming is made even more astounding so when you consider that not only was this a first feature from a fledgling production company, with the limited funding previously acquired partly via an IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign, partly by money donated from friends and family. Also, there is no way at all that it looks like the filming itself lasted only two days, which it did. Bloody Hell, more talented people - just where did I go wrong? Well, apart from having little or no filming or acting talent that is......

One of the gifts of any good supernatural horror is to make the audience at times question what we are seeing on screen and to challenge our expectations of the film narrative. Blood Loss more than achieves this by leaving one wondering what did actually happen to the characters onscreen and just who amongst them exactly managed to achieve redemption. In fact I have now watched the film three times and still I'm left with questions about what really and truly takes place. And I like that. I like that a lot.

The production team are currently waiting for the results of submission of Blood Loss to the various film festivals and I would expect that general release will take place after the film has played at them. For more information about the plans for distribution etc then check out the various links below....

The IMDB page for Blood Loss is at

You can find the Blood Loss Facebook page at

The IronStar Films Facebook page can be found RIGHT HERE

You can also do the Twitter tweeting thing via


  1. Thanks for taking the time to watch and review BloodLoss, glad you enjoyed it! Great review! Cheers!
    Graeme C

    1. Thanks, Graeme. I don't regard myself as a critic so I only write about things I like.......and I like! 😀
      Good luck with the festivals and full release, mate.