Blood Beat ★★★★

I'll grant you that it's an exceedingly shallow pool, but having grown up in the backwoods of western Wisconsin, I can attest that this is hands down the most on-point cinematic depiction of my home country that I've ever seen. I've viewed a lot of regional horror in my day, but never anything so firmly grounded in my particular region of origin, and certainly never anything so ambitious and fully realized. I'm in love with this thing.

A mousy young lady visits her college boyfriend's family in rural Wisconsin and soon finds herself drawn into a psychic, homicidal conflict involving her fella's spooky, painting-obsessed mother, a mysterious suit of samurai armor, and various doomed rednecks from the surrounding countryside.

This could've easily been just another charmingly non-professional early '80s regional slasher, but the filmmakers aim so much higher than that. I don't know that I can tell you a lot more without venturing into the domain of spoilers, but suffice it to say it's an impressively composed, borderline abstract, occasionally psychedelic dive into back-country horror, accentuated by some remarkably '80s special effects and scored with a constant throb of classical string compositions that add to the consistently tense, unpredictable mood that permeates the whole production.

I'm ready to call this the greatest-ever entry in the uncrowded field of Sconnie Horror, and that's coming from a dude who's witnessed most of the horrors of western Wisconsin first-hand.

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