A wacky idea and one amazing set do a lot for writer-director Tim Reis’ “Bad Blood: The Movie,” a retro monster picture about the curse of a “werefrog.” There’s barely enough plot here to fill a feature, but this energetic throwback’s DIY effects and general looniness should appeal to horror mavens.
Mary Malloy stars as Victoria, a college student who one night drives into a gas station run by an unnamed mad scientist (Vikas Adam). Victoria gets infected with a virus that turns humans into murderous amphibious beasts. After her abusive stepdad hires a private detective to bring her home, she embarks on a suburban kill-spree.
Reis spends too much time on Victoria’s back story, and minor characters’ shtick — like the stepfather’s meanness, and the detective’s insistence that all young people are hooked on drugs — wears thin.
But the scientist’s gas station laboratory is a work of art-directing genius, with its sickly green glow, bubbling beakers and frog-filled terrariums. And both the monster costume and the squiggly synthesizer score are impressively fleshed-out for such a low-budget production.
There’s a tactility to “Bad Blood: The Movie” that’s hugely appealing, even when the story stalls. It’s clear that Reis and his crew are genre fans, committed to spending every penny they have on making something that looks and sounds like something they’ve probably dreamed about since childhood.
‘Bad Blood: The Movie’
Running time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
Playing: Laemmle Playhouse 7, Pasadena