Color, 2012, 84m.
Directed by Henrique Couto
Starring Sandy Behre, Ruby Larocca, Josh Lively, Zane Crosby
Independent Entertainment (DVD) (US R0 NTSC) / WS (1.78:1) (16:9) / DD2.0
The nasty consequences of bullying have motivated plenty of horror movies over the years, stretching back to the adolescent horrors of Evilspeak, Fear No Evil, Horror High, Jennifer, and the standard bearer to this day, Carrie. Attempting a slightly different spin on this idea with a budget that might cover a single day pass at Disneyland is Bleeding Through, a fragmented look at what happens when teen Lindsey (Behre) starts to crack from the strain of losing her parents in a car wreck and dealing with day-to-day tormenters at school.
For the first hour or so you might not even know this is a horror film, as the tale is at first framed with Lindsey sitting a bathtub contemplating slashing her wrists as she thinks about the shambles her home life has become. To make matters worse, her brother (played by director Couto) is trying to eject her from their house; the sole ray of light seems to be her new friendship with Katie (Factory 2000 regular Larocca from Porkchop and Zombie Babies), though even that takes a nasty turn when Lindsey decides to express the intimate feelings she's been developing. Of course, it's only a matter of time before characters start biting the dust in violent fashion, though revealing how and why wouldn't be playing fair.
Shot in a variety of low-grade video formats to presumably the give the film a sense of rawness and immediacy, Bleeding Through isn't the most aesthetically pleasing movie on the planet and could confused horror fans expecting a gorefest from the opening frames. However, if you stick with it, the payoff in the final third is pretty potent stuff and indicates some solid potential from Couto, who previously worked on Faces of Schlock and went on to Babysitter Massacre after this one. Let's just hope he gets some more polished video equipment, though; despite some nice, imaginative visual flair in many scenes, it still looks pretty cruddy and the cast isn't exactly shot in the most flattering manner possible.
The Independent Entertainment DVD release of Bleeding Through looks fine given the extremely undemanding nature of the source, which could probably stream at SD level or lower on YouTube and probably have the same effect. Both Couto and Behre appear for an audio commentary in which the friendly pair (obviously piped in from different locations) run through the ins and outs of the production including its on again/off again scheduling and budget issues while praising some of the more striking moments, with good reason. You also get a 24-minute featurette compiling some behind-the-scenes footage, some of which is pretty interesting as it covers the effects in the final act. On the other hand, it looks like it was hastily thrown together and features some pretty blatant typos right from the beginning. You also get some video coverage of the film's premiere, a trio of extended and alternate versions of scenes from the film, and a pretty funny "Ruby Larocca: Auto Mechanic" quickie with the actress going all Linda Blair/Hell Night on the director's pesky car.