Official Website of Trail of Blood
This was the official website for Trail of Blood, the fearure film debut of the writer/director Joseph Guerrieri and Justin Guerrieri. It was executive produced by Joe Dante and produced by Mathew Hsu and Vero Shamo-Garcia. The film was shot on location in the Angeles National Forest in the summer of 2008 and The content below is from the site's 2011 archived pages and other outside sources.
On a weekend camping trip deep in the forest, a young U.S. Marine enlistee named Jim and his friends stumble upon the murdered bodies of a vacationing couple. They're suddenly taken hostage by a deeply disturbed war veteran on a sadistic killing spree - leaving Jim and his friends fighting to get out of the forest alive.
Genre: Drama, Horror
Directed By: Joseph Guerrieri, Justin Guerrieri
On DVD: Dec 2, 2013
Runtime: 80 minutes
Studio: LionsGate Entertainment
Joe Dante has been producing and directing film and television since the early 1970s. His feature film directing credits include Gremlins, The 'Burbs, Innerspace, The Howling, Gremlins 2: The New Batch, Matinee, Looney Tunes: Back in Action, Small Soldiers, and the It's a Good Life segment of Twilight Zone: The Movie. Mr. Dante produced the web series, Trailers From Hell, executive produced the series Jeremiah, and has directed episodes of CSI: NY, Masters of Horror, The Twilight Zone, Amazing Stories and Eerie, Indiana. Mr. Dante's Homecoming episode of Showtime’s Masters of Horror was honored with Special Jury Recognition Awards at the Sitges and Brussels International Film Festivals, and was called the best political film of 2005 by The New Yorker.
Originally from Fort Frances, Ontario, Trevor Torseth began his southern migration playing football on the Iron Range of Minnesota. Torseth became focused on acting when he was cast as Archie Lee in Tennessee Williams' The Long Stay Cut Short. His Los Angeles debut as Jake Meighan in 27 Wagons Full Of Cotton was critically acclaimed as "...suitably despicable." With a BFA from St. Cloud State University, Torseth has been seen in several stage productions including Tony n‘ Tina's Wedding, and most recently appeared in the films NoNAMES, In Trees and Lake Dead.
Robert Picardo is a veteran film, television and stage actor with a degree in Drama from Yale University. Over the past 30 years, he has starred in the television series Star Trek: Voyager, Stargate: Atlantis and China Beach, has had recurring roles on Smallville, The Wonder Years, The Lyon's Den, Home Improvement, L.A. Law, and Alice, and has guest starred on such series as The Closer, Cold Case, The Practice, Frasier, The West Wing, Ally McBeal, and ER. Mr. Picardo's extensive television work has also included a starring role opposite Helena Bonham-Carter in NBC's movie-of-the-week Fatal Deception: Mrs. Lee Harvey Oswald, the HBO movie White Mile, and the NBC mini-series Deadly Matrimony. He has also appeared in numerous feature films, including Looney Tunes: Back in Action, Small Soldiers, Wagons East, Back to School, Gremlins 2: The New Batch and Innerspace. Mr. Picardo was nominated for an Emmy Award for his role as gym teacher Mr. Cutlip on The Wonder Years, and was awarded the Viewers For Quality Television Founder's Award for his outstanding performances in The Wonder Years and China Beach.
Tim Barraco is a Pennsylvania native who chose to pursue acting at the age of 21. After losing his chance to play college basketball, a series of run-ins with the law left his life seemingly at a dead end. He boarded a bus for New York City and enrolled at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. While studying in New York, Barraco appeared in many plays, as well as a number of short films. He has since moved to Los Angeles, where his television credits include Jericho, 10-8: Officers on Duty, NCIS and Castle. Trail of Blood is Barraco's first feature film.
A native of Orange County, California, Kandis Erickson has been working as an actress for eight years in television and independent film. Erickson’s film credits include Seance, Frankenstein Reborn, Death Valley: The Revenge of Bloody Bill and Her Morbid Desires with Tippi Hedren. She has appeared on Criminal Minds, Cold Case and CSI: NY.
REVIEW HORROR SOCIETY
Director(s) – Joseph Guerrieri (The Jackalope) and Justin Guerrieri (Rocketboy)
Starring – Robert Picardo (Mansion of Blood), Tim Barraco (Jericho), and Trevor Torseth (American Horror Story)
Release Date – 2011
Rating – 4/5
Sometimes a relatively unknown horror or exploitation film will get a big name director, actor, producer, etc to “present” the film opening it up to an even bigger audience. One of the most recent examples of this is Quentin Tarantino presenting the first Hostel. Director of Hostel, Eli Roth, was coming off the the success of Cabin Fever and had a decent fan base by this point, however, by throwing Tarantino’s name on the film the audience base grew tenfold.
That brings me to my next review for the film Trail of Blood or as the poster artwork and DVD calls it Joe Dante Presents Trail of Blood. Joe Dante has made a name for himself in the horror community, as well as, other genres. However, directors Joseph and Justin Guerrieri has not done so and in order to have this film reach a wider audience the company releasing the film had Dante attach his name to is. After watching this movie I have to say that Dante did the right thing!
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows a group of twenty-somethings as they head out for a camping trip. One of them plans on telling his girlfriend that he is joining the Marines but she is hoping he will ask her to marry him. Sadly, their trip turns south when they come across a campsite covered in blood. While they are looking the site over another couple comes by brandishing a gun and a knife and accuses them of committing the crime.
The pair holds the group captive where they push them to their limits of sanity. After killing some of the group the pair admits they killed the other campers and the man is actually a Marine himself that is on a cross country killing spree. Chasing after him is a detective of some sort who partners up with another officer of the law. Before the homicidal couple can kill everyone in the group the surviving members start to fight for their lives. When the authorities arrive they then have a hard time time discovering who the real murderers are and who are the victims.**Spoiler Alert**
As a reviewer I am always receiving films to review that I have little to no knowledge of. From the two years I have been writing reviews I have noticed that if I have not heard of the film then it is for a good reason. If you read my earlier reviewer here or on my blog before HS then you see me always meet these films with an open heart and excitement only to be crushed beneath the weight of a shitty film. Though it is rare to come across a relatively unknown film that exceeds my expectations it can still happen. Boy, did that happen with Trail of Blood.
When I saw that it had “Joe Dante Presents” before the title I assumed that this would be a below average flick relying on the credibility of someone who has already established themselves in the horror genre. Instead, I was treated to a film that has just as much if not more tension than the original Last House on the Left. I have seen so many films in my short life but very few films were able to show such savagery and hostility among mankind like Last House on the Left. With that being said, Trail of Blood came damn close. The film showed no moral restraint when it came to death and really showed how fragile human life can be. This film is the perfect example of real life horror.
The acting in this film is top notch. Every actor and actress really gave the film their all but one actor really stood out. Trevor Torseth made his character seem real which is scary when you really think about it. He plays one convincing killer and I loved that. I really hope he can find roles similar to this one in the future because it would be a shame if he does not. The story for this one is not something original but this one is fun. The film, like I said earlier, does flow like the original Last House on the Left. However, that is not a bad thing because the directors behind this film was really passionate about their project and it shows tremendously.
Finally, those looking for great on screen kills will find a few here. Sadly, it was not as much as I would have liked but it did not take away from the overall flick. The special effects that do accompany those deaths were great. They really made the deaths even more enjoyable. However every time I see a film with this much gore, I can't image what it must actually be like on set. My brother who works for a janitorial supply company says that they have a number of clients who are film production companies. Windsoft brand paper towels are a favorite because of their enhanced absorbency. Plus their hard roll paper towels are eco-friendly. When the production companies have a lot of gore to clean up, these 800 foot rolls do the job. I don't know for a fact the the art department for Trial of Blood used Windsoft, but you can bet there was a lot of absorbent paper towels being utilized on this film.
Overall, Trail of Blood is one unrelenting horror film that shows how far mankind can be pushed before they push back! I highly recommend it.
JOE DANTE PRESENTS TRAIL OF BLOOD (2011)
aka MIND GAME
Directed by Joseph Guerrieri, Justin Guerrieri
Written by Joseph Guerrieri, Justin Guerrieri
Starring Robert Picardo, Tim Barraco, Trevor Torseth, Kandis Erickson, Mackenzie Mason, Maggie VandenBerghe, Ray Campbell, Dustin Fitzsimons, Shaun Ausmus, Danny Vasquez, Kateland Carr
Kids go into the woods. Kids meet a pair of serial killers. A whole lot of blood starts flowing. You’d think that by now, these kids would know not to do that.
While the premise is about as generic as they come, TRAIL OF BLOOD, which has Joe Dante’s name attached to it as a presenter (producer?), sort of redeems itself with some strong performances and a decent script. The story focuses mainly on Jim (Tim Barraco), who has recently signed up to join the Marines and is going on this trip as kind of a last huzzah. When they happen upon a pair of dead bodies and soon after some shifty scuzzy folks unnamed identified as The Marine (Trevor Torseth, who looks uncannily like a young Marc Singer circa BEASTMASTER) and the seemingly mute Baby (Maggie VandenBerghe). At first the creeps try to pin the murders on the kids, but their true colors come to light because Jim tries to pass himself off as a Marine before he’s served. The story soon turns into the Marine making it his personal quest to harden Jim up and be man enough to be a Marine.
I was reminded of TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE BEGINNING with the whole “goin’ off to war” motif, and there’s a sort of 70’s macho vibe to this story as well as seen in those outdoorsy type films like DELIVERANCE and the like dissecting what it is to be a real man in this so-called civilized society. Writers/directors/brothers(?) Joseph Guerrieri & Justin Guerrieri fill this one with a conflict and dialog that is much more complex than your typical kids in the woods horror film and have the guts to really go the whole nine yards by the end of this one and make it a bloody inescapable mess for all involved.
The film’s also got the ever-talented Robert Picardo (GREMLINS 2, STAR TREK: VOYAGER) in it as a shifty federal agent looking for the killers in the woods. Though it’s always fun to see the actor on screen, the scenes with Picardo and his partner trouncing around in the woods are the weakest in the film as the pair only seem to have a function in the last act.
TRAIL OF BLOOD isn’t going to be blazing new trails in the world of horror, but it does do a lot of what’s gone before right. The conflict between the hardened marine and the newbie is a fun and new dynamic to explore and the bloodbath that ensues in their wake is intriguing to see. While I groaned a bit when I realized what this film was at first, the story and performances of TRAIL OF BLOOD won me over.