Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories-A Review
by Luce Allan
The walls in the house that serves as the main focus in the anthology Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories (2016) don't talk-they scream. In this sequel to Volumes of Blood (2015), a couple searching for a new home encounters a ghoulish realtor who lures them into a house with a history rich in blood. The house's hidden landscape of gore is detailed in seven short installments that, when combined, weave a tapestry of evil and terror in various forms.
Each segment of the film serves as an independent piece that contributes to a larger, unified whole. The couple's ominous tour, entitled “A Killer House,” is the centerpiece segment, providing the film's foundation. While the concept follows a predictable storyline, there are moments that capture genuine dread and excitement, punctuated with the eerie intrigue of Christopher Bower's depiction of the realtor. A prominent flaw that persists in this segment is its preoccupation with sprinkling in puns that portend the deaths to come-as these double entendres increase, the humor lessens.
Two segments that exist within the same timeline as “A Killer House” are “Murder Death Killer” and “Trick or Treat.” The former, which begins the film, offers relevant commentary on horror remakes, although the pacing is considerably slow, particularly as the movie's opener. “Trick or Treat” slightly quickens the momentum and sprinkles in some original and entertaining concepts, including a notably gruesome death scene, although the overall execution of this portion of the storyline could have been much tighter.
The flashback segments, which comprise the bulk of the anthology, consist of “Feeding Time,” “Blood Bath,” “Fear, For Sinners Here” and “The Deathday Party.” Arguably, the strongest segment both within this group and overall is “Fear, For Sinners Here,” which features a formidable atmosphere of dread, expert pacing, and impressive performances from Jessica Shroeder and Julie Streble. “Blood Bath” is another stand-out due to its intense imagery and delightfully creative use of an inanimate object, although the storyline ultimately succumbs to a generic conclusion. “Feeding Time” and “The Deathday Party” both exhibit potential in their respective plots, but fail to reach their levels of promise due to individual pitfalls-while “Feeding Time” falters with its flat beginning, “The Deathday Party” is impaired by its uneven mix of camp and horror.
While the connection between the varied elements within each segment is successful and displays a thoughtful blending of different characters and themes, the ending unravels into an awkward extended sequence that stands in stark contrast to the careful establishment of the segments' relationships to each other and is underwhelming in comparison to the bursts of intensity seen in the earlier portions of the film.
Overall, Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories is an entertaining, rough-around-the-edges film whose mixture of highs and lows is elevated by its sense of fun.