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  Blood Punch Repetition IntuitionBuy this film here.
Year: 2014
Director: Madellaine Paxson
Stars: Milo Cawthorne, Olivia Tennet, Ari Boyland, Adelaide Kane, Cohen Holloway, Fleur Saville, Mike Ginn, Amanda Reed
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: It's Tuesday again, and Milton (Milo Cawthorne) awakens in a hunting lodge slightly disorientated and feeling very sick. He stumbles from the sofa to the bathroom and throws up in the toilet, but as he sits there, recovering and collecting his thoughts he notices a device in the bath, a screen that has a note saying "PLAY ME" stuck to it, and he is intrigued. He does as the message says, only to see a video of the bathroom - and himself in it, telling him to watch this closely as his screen self takes a cleaver and chops off two fingers, much to the real Milton's horror. Now his alter ego has his attention, he attempts to explain: it all began on Monday, when he was a patient in a ward for the treatment of criminals with a drug addiction...

When Groundhog Day was released back it the nineteen-nineties, it contained such a great concept that many wondered why it had never been done before, and whether it would ever be able to be done again, since that film got it so right that any further variation would seem superfluous. But of course it had been pulled off before, in fact it happened millions of times across the world every day when anyone played a computer game, as the reset component allowed the player to return to the beginning of any game they played and have another go at it once they had been "killed". So maybe it was not so much of a surprise when this low budget movie concocted its own version of the idea, only with added gore.

Groundhog Day with Violence was going to be a tricky thing to achieve without alienating the audience, but the team of director Madellaine Paxson and writer Eddie Guzelian managed something surprisingly satisfying as they did not simply rip off that movie, they applied it to their own plot which had specific parameters similar to, but not identical to, the Bill Murray classic. We never found out why Milton was stuck living his Tuesday over and over, but we did gradually work out what it was that was happening, the rules that applied, and a possible method of extricating oneself from this situation. But it should be pointed out that it was not just Milton who was caught up in this dilemma.

There were also his partners in crime, Skyler (Olivia Tennet) and Russell (Ari Boyland), who had got him into this mess in the first place. That mess was apparently influenced by Breaking Bad, concerning as it did the cooking of over a million dollars' worth of crystal meth, a narrative point that was the trigger for a lot of movie and TV plotline cash to up the stakes for the characters, though after a while it was the matter of escaping this trap that became the major impetus for Milton to keep on through the same Tuesday, potentially for all eternity. The possibility that this could be Hell - living one day over and over ad nauseam - or Heaven - never growing old, everything you need in an idyllic countryside setting - was mulled over, but there was no way this was going to conclude with the trio deciding to stay as they were.

There had to be a goal for them to get to, and escaping was that aim, even as they recognised it was not going to be easy for all of them, indeed the psychopathic ex-cop Russell needed to be bumped off (in a variety of ways) every morning by the now in cahoots Milton and Olivia. While this was entertaining, it was not the film its inspiration was, as there was a self-conscious air about both the violence and the hardboiled dialogue that spoke to a certain posing as a more badass set of circumstances than was entirely convincing, but you were compelled to stay with it since the problem solving nature of the structure was captivating enough to reap rewards, if a little more modest than what it was always going to be compared to. But then again, it had been used in science fiction, for example a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode and the contemporary Edge of Tomorrow, so Groundhog Day did not have the monopoly on the idea. The makers were actually seasoned creators of children's television, and the ingenuity of the best of that genre was well on display in a not bad, occasionally inspired, novelty item. Music by Adam Berry.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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