Directed by: Matt O’Mahoney
Reviewed by: Dana Keller
Bloody Knuckles is the story of a vulgar, politically minded comicbook artist named Travis whose hand is forcefully removed after he publishes an issue depicting a local gang boss making happy time with a corpse. In true horror fashion Travis’ amputated hand rises from its gutter-grave and runs amuck (picture Thing Addams gone Kill Bill’s The Bride) and gory hilarity ensues.
Director Matt O’Mahoney’s debut feature film might not be as offensive as it wants to be, but it’s still pretty damn fun. Bloody Knuckles has an indie, counter-cultural feel to it that brings it in line with contemporary Canadian gross-out films like the Soska sisters’ Dead Hooker In A Trunk and Astron-6’s Father’s Day. While it might not be as disgusting as the aforementioned films, Bloody Knuckles truly shines in its devotion to characterization and dialogue; the moments between Travis and his step-brother/roommate/BFF, Ralphie, are sweet, funny, and memorable.
Other reviews have noted that Bloody Knuckles’ cast comprises mainly newcomers, which makes the strong performances throughout even more impressive. And while some critics have complained about the wooden acting of kingpin Leonard Fong’s gang, given O’Mahoney’s sense of humour, I would not be surprised if this was an intentional decision on his part (even if it wasn’t, he could sell it that way and I’d buy it).
As far as special effects go, the gore is decent and the decaying, amputated hand had me convinced…it really began to feel like a character after a while. Horror veterans will likely not find the film particularly exciting in terms of innovation, but it’s fun enough, and there are certainly some giggle-inducingly gross moments.
Overall, Bloody Knuckles is a worthwhile horror comedy that would be best enjoyed with beer and buds. The story is a bit too coherent to evoke that true midnight movie feeling, but O’Mahoney’s consistent social commentary should at the very least inspire viewers to raise a little hell.
The film screens as part of the 2014 Vancouver International Film Festival on October 3rd, at 11 pm, at the Rio, and on October 4th, at 3:45 pm at International Village. If you can, see it at the Rio.