Blood Punch tells the tale of a brilliant college-aged chemist named Milton (played by Milo Cawthorne) who ends up in rehab. While in rehab, he meets the beautiful and brash femme fatale Skyler (played by Olivia Tennet), who seduces him into a scheme in which he would cook crystal meth and make lots of money along the way. After breaking him out with the help of her crooked cop (ex-)boyfriend Russell (played by Ari Boyland), they then head to a cabin in the woods to begin their work. Along the way, Milton finds himself in an incredibly bizarre and dangerous love triangle gone horribly wrong. When blood gets spilled, triggering an ancient Native American curse, the trio find themselves stuck replaying the same day over and over again.
The film came about after writer Eddie Guzelian joined the crew of Power Rangers RPM as its Executive Producer. Seeing the talent from the cast, he decided to write a movie with them in mind. Production took place in late 2011 high up in the Southwestern California mountains outside of Los Angeles, but the film did not see the light of day until the 20th annual Austin Film Festival in October 2013, where it took home the Dark Matters Audience Award. Over the next year, Blood Punch enjoyed a successful film festival run, winning an impressive number of audience and jury awards before landing a worldwide distribution deal.
On September 1, 2015, after a limited U.S. theatrical run, Blood Punch was released commercially through out the U.S. and North America, debuting as the #1 horror movie on the iTunes charts. Despite its low-budget horror pedigree and Power Ranger roots, Blood Punch was met with overwhelming critical praise from both traditional media (The Hollywood Reporter, Village Voice, LA Weekly, Indiewire) as well as genre-specific online sites (Aint It Cool News, Dread Central, Bloody-Disgusting) and currently holds a 78% fresh rating on the Rotten Tomatoes website.
Blood Punch provides examples of:
- Arc Words: "Breakfast time boys and girls. The most important meal of the day..."
- Ax-Crazy: Russell. Dear God, Russell. We're introduced to him shooting up a rehab clinic for absolutely no reason, and gleefully sticks a gun in Milton's face - if it hadn't been for Skyler, Milton would have been dead in seconds.Skyler: Before we go any further, make sure you understand this. Russell is dangerous. A pure 100% psychopath.
- Badass Bookworm: Milton becomes this over the course of the movie.
- Blast Out: Nabiki, possibly feeling jealous that Archer prefers Skyler over her, decides to shoot her. She seemingly misses though Skyler ends up fatally injured before being healed when she wakes up as they're all still in the time loop, but it starts a shootout in the dark inside of Archer's warehouse.
- Blofeld Ploy: Milton becomes angry with Skyler upon learning she assisted Russell in killing him during the time loop. Rather than take his revenge, he merely slaps her and proceeds to kill Russell as per usual at this point.Skyler: Ready to move forward and meet the challenges of a new day?Milton: Not quite. There's something I need to give you first.Skyler: Go on Milton, give it to me.Milton: I just did.
- Bolivian Army Ending: The final shot is of Nabiki about to put a bullet in Skyler, who's accepted her fate, knowing that they'll all just end up in the same "Groundhog Day" Loop as before.
- Boom, Headshot!: Archer manages to stop the shootout and orders everyone to not shoot until he turns on the lights. Right after doing so, he sees Skyler in front of him flashing a grin before holding up her pistol and pulling the trigger, putting a bullet through his head.
- Broken Bird: Implied with Skyler. The film provides hints of her being dragged into an abusive relationship with Russell at twelve years old. Russell's client Archer helped out in the process.
- Brutal Honesty: Skyler is prone to this.
- Cassandra Truth: When Milton tries to reason with Russell and explain the time loop their stuck in, Russell refuses to believe him. Milton convinces him to just sit down and talk things over but...Milton: I mean, I'm telling you man, this whole thing is so fucked up you're not gonna believe a word of it.Russell: Oh that's fine, 'cause I'm not even gonna hear a word of it. (stabs Milton)
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Towards the end of the film, Skyler ends up shooting Milton, who then realizes that her feelings for him might not be truthful. He then decides to kill her before she kills him first, especially since they both know that the only way to break the curse they're under is to be the last person standing.
- Cloning Blues: The time-loop leaves corpses of whoever was killed.
- Cluster F-Bomb: While most of the characters employ this trope, Russell is particularly fond of this. He even sings the word repetitively in the shower.Russell: (pointing gun) Freeze motherfucker. Drop the weapon.Milton: It's just a flashlight.Russell: Drop the fucking flashlight motherfucker!
- Coitus Ensues: Skyler ropes Milton into having sex rather abruptly after he proves to her he can make crystal meth.Milton: Don't be too impressed with me yet. This isn't the real test...Skyler: No. This is the real test. (aggressively kisses him)
- Cold-Blooded Torture: At one point Milton invokes this on Russell who boasts the former doesn't have guts. Milton reveals he didn't but over course of the time loop things have changed.Milton: I need to ask you a series of questions.Russell: (laughs) Or what? You're gonna torture me Milton? Seriously? Because I don't think you have the stomach for that kind of thing.Milton: You're right I don't. That's why the first time I tortured you, I let you off easy. (reveals corpse) Killed you after 1 hour.Russell: (grimly) What the fuck is going on here?Milton: I'll admit that's pretty weak but look, I got better at it. Check out the handiwork on this one. This one lasted about 4 hours.Russell: (looks horrified)Milton: And this one... You'd have been proud of this one Russell. You really, really would have been proud. This one lasted a whole day.Russell: Oh God... Hell no... Okay look, Milton I'm begging you just, I'm begging you-Milton: -I know you're begging me Russell. I know you are but here's the thing... so did they.
- Corrupt Cop: Russell, who joined the force to get his kicks (literally), and cooked up the meth scheme with Skyler... despite being on active duty.Milton: I didn't know you were a cop.Russell: That's 'cause I'm not. Not anymore. I just fuckin' quit.
- Crazy Jealous Guy: Russell. He is incredibly possessive of Skyler, though he sees no problem with her sleeping with Milton so that he could go along with their scheme. But he does have a problem with the idea of Milton possibly falling in love with her.Russell: I know you fucked her Milton. I know you did. (beat) And that's fine. I don't have any problem with that.Milton: You don't?Russell: No, see Skyler did what she had to do to get you here. But you know what I can't have? What I absolutely cannot risk is you falling in love with her.
- Deal with the Devil: Milton invokes this when he asks Skyler if her boyfriend Russell had made a deal with the Devil after hearing how she described him. Her reply? Russell didn't make a deal with the devil; Russell is the devil.
- Deadpan Snarker: Skyler, for the most part, though Milton has his moments.
- Death Montage: One gets shown of Milton and Skyler repeatedly killing Russell as they relive the same day over and over again.
- Defiant to the End: the dying but still breathing Russell taunts Milton as the latter buries him.
- Determinator : Just when Milton thinks "he's probably dead already" the injured Russell gives chase firing his gun.
- Die Laughing: Skyler at the very end of the film. Crosses with Laughing Mad.
- Driven to Suicide: Milton. Having had enough of Skyler's scheming and backstabbing, and despite admitting that he loves her through all that and to get Skyler to break the cycle, he decides to take his own life.
- Domestic Abuse: Russell towards Skyler.
- Drugs Are Bad: The film's opening scenes take place in a Narcotics Anonymous rehab facility, with some of the meeting's attendees recalling how their own drug addiction spiraled out of control. And, of course, the plot kicks off when the group hide away in a secluded valley to cook meth...Claire: Um excuse me, hello? I dont know if youve noticed but this is the drug rehabilitation center.
Tim: Yeah the entire reason were here is because we wanna stop using-
Skyler: -No. The entire reason youre here is because what you want, what you all really want, is crystal meth. And the reason Im here, is because I need someone who can cook it.
- Easily Forgiven: Played with.Russell: Hey Milton man, look I'm sorry about sticking a gun in your face earlier. No hard feelings right?
Milton: No, forget it.
Russell: No man, sincerely I apologize. I had no idea who you were. Right, tell 'em baby.
Skyler: (monotone) He had no idea who you were.
- Femme Fatale: Skyler, obviously. She ends up killing pretty much everyone (though, per the curse, they all come back to life the next day), even using a grenade at one point. Nabiki, to a much lesser extent.
- Foreshadowing: Russell's retelling of "the great battle" foreshadow the entire plot of the movie.
- The shadow animatics even depict a two people fighting evenly until a third person appears and stabs one in the back as well as a bunch of bodies being thrown into a trench. This foreshadows how Skyler will betray both Russell and Milton and how both sets of their corpses left behind during the timeloop were disposed of.
- Framing Device: Milton records a video into a police car surveillance camera that he disassembled from Russell's cruiser. It is this same video that he wakes up to at the very beginning of the film.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: During the death montage, a shot of the chalkboard lists the various ways that Russell was killed and among them is Erotic Asphyxiation. When Skyler insisted they Try Everything she really meant it.
- Fingore: In the opening sequence, Milton's message to himself involves getting him to really pay attention by slicing his fingers off, despite the Milton watching the video still having his fingers.
- Genre Shift: The film starts out as neo-noir and then shifts into a supernatural horror film when the curse gets triggered.
- The Glasses Gotta Go: Right after Russell shoots up the rehab facility, Milton, who had been wearing glasses during his stay, picks up his glasses, only to find that one of the lenses had been broken after falling to the ground. They are never seen again.
- "Groundhog Day" Loop: Triggered after Russell dies for the first time. The trio relive the same day over and over again until only one of them comes out alive.
- Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex: How Milton and Skyler celebrate narrowly surviving their encounter with Archer.
- Here We Go Again!: At the film's end, right before Archer shoots Skyler, he decides to stay in the cabin for the night, along with Nabiki. Skyler sees absolutely no problem with this.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Milton kills himself right after Russell accidentally shoots himself as a way to finally break the curse they've been under.
- Honesty Is the Best Policy: During the film's opening scenes at the rehab facility, Skyler outlines her plan up front to the ones attending a Narcotics Anonymous meeting.Skyler: This is pseudoephedrine "common cold" medication. But in the right hands, the hands of someone who knows what they're doing...Lydia: Skyler honey, to be part of this circle, you need to just be completely open and honest.Skyler: How much more open and honest could I be? I'm telling you. I'm announcing it to the circle. I need someone who can cook high grade crack and I need to find them fast.
- How We Got Here: The film begins with Milton heading to the bathroom and puking in a toilet. He then sees a viewer with a message reading "Play Me". Upon playing it, he sees himself in the recording and learning about how he ended up in the cabin and the pair who led him up there.
- I Warned You: Skyler tells this Milton after he first meets Russell.Milton: What the fuck is wrong with him?Skyler: What's wrong with him? He's a psychopathic maniac. I told you that right up front remember?Milton: Yeah, I know said but you never said-Skyler: What kind of psychopathic maniac were you expecting Milton? The cute and cuddly kind?Milton: You told me he was dangerous.Skyler: I told you he was the devil.
Skyler: I begged you to leave, Milton. I took the bullets out of his gun.
- And again to an injured Milton after having killed Russell only the second time. She did warn him earlier the night before the first time loop began about being involved with their scheme.
- I Choose to Stay: Skyler's proposes this idea to Milton after he reveals the only known way to break the time loop curse.Skyler: This thing we're stuck in... maybe it isn't hell after all. Maybe it's something else.Milton: Like what? Heaven?Skyler: As close to it as we're ever gonna get.
- If I Can't Have You : A variation. Having realized that Skyler might have feelings for Milton after saving him from certain death, Russell decides to kill them both, deviating from his original plan to only take out Milton.
- Insult Backfire: When Claire attempts to smugly call out Skyler's behavior, Skyler makes sure her retort presses the Berserk Button.Claire: You want someone to cook meth for you? That's your problem?Skyler: No Claire, that's my solution.Claire: Yeah well, you can take you and your problem and your solution... and you can go fuck yourself! (laughs) I mean why would any of us wanna help you?Skyler: Well there's an ass-load of money in it and besides, it would have to be a hell of a lot more interesting than listening to you whine about how much you miss getting butt-fucked by your uncle.
- It Amused Me: Skyler's reasoning for her drug habits.Skyler: Well Im sure there are many deep psychological reasons as to why I started using crystal. But at the end of the day it really all came down to this. (lights up) I noticed while I was on the drug, I was more alert, more productive, felt better, stayed better and could fuck like my ass was on fire for 36 hours straight. I mean I dont know the shit the rest of you guys were on but it sounds like it really sucks.
- Jerkass: When Skyler shows up to rehab, she deliberately insults, mocks, and incites the addicts there.
- Karmic Death: Russell. His final death involves him accidentally shooting himself with his own revolver that had only one bullet inside it. Especially ironic given that he played Russian Roulette with Milton as a test to make sure that he didn't have any feelings for Skyler much earlier in the film.
- Large Ham: Archer (played by Cohen Holloway), Russell's client, tracksuit and all.
- Last Chance to Quit: Skyler offers Milton one but only after the time loop has kicked inSkyler: Your last chance. Just get in the car right now and drive. Go back to rehab or something. Fuck, tell them Russell and I kindnapped you or some shit.Milton: And what about you? What will Russell do to you when he finds out?Skyler: Nothing Milton. Nothing he hasn't done 100 times before.
- Leitmotif: The score provides one for scenes between Milton and Skyler. There's also one whenever anyone drives in Russell's police cruiser.
- Love at First Sight: Both Milton and Russel in regards to Skyler.Russell: What I absolutely cannot risk is you falling in love with her.Milton: I just met her.Russell: So? What the fuck does that prove? Man, I fell in love with Skyler the moment I laid eyes on her.
- Love Triangle: Russell, Skyler, and Milton.
- Meaningful Echo: Russell boasts to Milton that he loves bullets because a bullet "always tells the truth". The next day, right before shooting Milton, he finds out that his revolver is out of bullets. Cue Skyler walking in, dropping the bullets on the floor.Skyler: A bullet always tells the truth.
- Memory Gambit: Milton invokes this during the final act of the film in order to find out if Skyler's feelings for him are genuine. His plan involves secretly leaving himself the video recorded message (as well as making sure Russell was left alive) so that should Skyler kill him, the time loop will still be in effect and he can learn the truth through his recorded message. His plan worked perfectly.
- Murder the Hypotenuse: Russell plans to kill Milton after he cooks the meth for his client. But after Milton falls in love with Skyler, the two end up killing Russell instead. When the curse kicks in, they kill him in various and absurd ways, even torturing him at one point.
- Mushroom Samba: A mild case. While having a frank conversation outside with Milton, Skyler begins feeling warm. She then realizes that Russell spiked the heroin with peyote and interrupts him in the shower right when he begins feeling the effects. Hilarity Ensues.
- An Offer You Can't Refuse: Skyler's offer to Milton. It works as he feels he has burned all his bridges by being expelled from college and put in rehab because he got caught making meth on campus.
- Only in It for the Money: Subverted.Milton: Russell there's plenty of money for all of us-Russell: -This isn't about the money partner. And to prove it to you, I'm gonna bury you with your share. That sound fair to you?
- Only Sane Man: Milton is the only somewhat sane person in a world filled with murderous crooked cops, femme fatales, and sleazy drug buyers. However, he begins suffering from Sanity Slippage as the film goes on.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Surprisingly, even with the large Kiwi cast, this doesn't happen very often.
- Parrot Exposition: A really creepy version of this trope takes place when Skyler, in a deadpan and Creepy Monotone voice, repeats Russell's statements during his initial conversation with Milton.
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Skyler gets the last line of the film as she stares down the barrel of Archer's gun.Skyler: I'll see you in hell. Or maybe . . . I'll see you tomorrow.
- Pre-Order Bonus: Preorders on iTunes allow access to bonus behind-the-scenes footage from Power Rangers RPM.
- Removing the Rival: Nabiki, tired of being second best in Archer's eyes, decides to take out Skyler as she negotiates an agreement regarding the meth Milton cooked earlier. She then grabs a shotgun from behind the fridge and fires a shot at her rival's direction.
- Revolvers Are Just Better: Implied with Russell as he's particularly fond of his revolver.
- The Rival: Implied with Nabiki as a rival of sorts to Skyler. Crosses with The Resenter as she feels as if Archer prefers Skyler to her.
- Russian Roulette: Invoked a few times throughout the film notably during the final act where Russell opts to let fate decide who gets to walk out alive. It ends up becoming his undoing.
- Sarcasm Mode: When Milton suggests Skyler should escape Russell's clutches.Skyler: Sure I'll just go in there right now and break up with him. Tell him we should just be friends.
- Sexy Walk: How Skyler is introduced, with the camera lingering on her legs.
- She's Got Legs: Skyler. It doesn't hurt at all that her actress, Olivia Tennet, is an accomplished dancer.
- The Smart Guy: Milton which gets discussed within the film.Skyler: Milton was it? So they tell me your really smart Milton. Some sort of college boy. Chemical Engineering Degree or something like that?Milton: Something like that.Skyler: Word around the campfire is your meth lab on campus got busted right before you graduated.Milton: What do you want?Skyler: Just the answer to a simple question. You see, on the one hand you're bright enough to almost have a college degree in chemistry and the other hand you're dumb enough to have landed yourself in here. So I guess the real question is this. Exactly how smart are you Milton?Milton: Smart enough to do this. (closes book and leaves)
- Smart People Wear Glasses: Milton. Justified in that he's a brilliant chemistry student and even built his own meth lab on campus before being busted by the police.
- Smoking Is Cool: Skyler can be seen frequently smoking throughout the film's first act.
- The Snack Is More Interesting: Skyler uses a warning shot to break up a heated argument between Russell and Milton then proceeds to eat the apple on her head which was being used for target practice.
- Sole Survivor: Skyler is the only one of the trio to live, thus breaking the curse. That is, until Archer and Nabiki show up the next day to get the drugs Milton made.
- Stop, or I Will Shoot!: Russell stops Milton at gun point, intending to kill him anyway until Skyler reveals he's their cook.Russell: (in disbelief) You? You're our cook? (suddenly friendly) Damn, in that case Milton it's a real pleasure to meet ya!
- This Is Gonna Suck: Milton is quick to realize he's in trouble after he meets Russell.Milton: We knew you were heading for trouble. We didn't exactly know how much and we didn't know what kind. But we knew it was coming.
- Threat Backfire: When Milton interrogates RussellRussell: You motherfucker! You're fucking dead!Milton: Yeah yeah, "I'm a dead man you're gonna fuckin' kill me" Blah, Blah, Blah let's skip all that.
- Took a Level in Badass: Milton. Becomes a full-fledged Badass Bookworm by the latter half of the film and even takes on Skyler by setting a trap by which to try to kill her. Even she's impressed.
- To the Tune of...: "Lover's Merry Go Round" the vinyl record song played when Milton inspects the hunting lodge is set the to the tune of "Fig Leaf Rag" by Scott Joplin. The other vinyl record song "Where the Love birds sing" played during the William Tell scene is set to the tune of "Merry Go" by Kevin Macleod. Both songs foreshadow the time loop and curse and the love triangle themes that fuel the plot of the movie.
- Trauma-Induced Amnesia: This apparently happens to Milton, necessitating the How We Got Here opening video. Russell apparently has the same issue - he repeats the day much, much more often and often doesn't have any memory of previous loops.
- Trigger-Happy: Russell very much. The sound of gunfire alerts Skyler of his presence at the facility and she rushes off to "make sure he doesn't kill anyone".
- Twisted Echo Cut: After the first loop where Russell is killed Milton insists on trying to reason with Russell, stating he can't go through what happened again, cut to the exact same scenario nearly repeating itself with Milton at gunpoint.
- Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Averted with Russell. He will shoot without reason.Russell: I don't need a reason, I just need a gun.
- Violence is the Only Option:
- Milton finds out that the only way to break the curse is to kill everyone else.
- Skyler invokes this to Milton when she tells him that Russell can't be reasoned with. The only solution is to keep killing him before he kills Milton.
- Wall of Weapons: The cabin has a stockpile of axes, knives, and other bladed weapons upon the wall. They're all used up before the end.
- We Can Rule Together: Milton is Genre Savvy enough to know Skyler will invoke this on him so he saves her the trouble.Milton: No school will accept me, not with my record. But you already know that right? This is the start of your pitch.Skyler: My pitch?Milton: Your salespitch. Probably goes something like this. First you remind me that I've got nothing waiting for me when I get out, just you know a future of flipping burgers/pumping gas.Skyler: That's probably true.Milton: Right, then you point out I'm too smart for that and it would be a shame to let my talents go to waste.Skyler: Sounds pretty convincing so far. What do I say after that?Milton: Next you'll insist I come cook crack for you instead.Skyler: That's right. You should.Milton: But here's what you're not gonna tell me. When this lab of yours gets raided, I go to jail. Real jail. And your lab will get raided it's only a matter of time.Skyler: Exactly, a matter of time. That's why the amount of time we're talking here is one day.
- William Telling: Russell, wanting to make sure that Milton hasn't developed any feelings for Skyler, has him aim a crossbow at an apple atop her head, all the while playing Russian Roulette with him as he holds his revolver (with only a single bullet inside it) up to his head. Milton refuses on the grounds that if Russell kills him he'd lose his crystal meth cookRussell: I'm gonna put a bullet in the chamber and then I'm gonna count to 5.Milton: No Russell, wait okay! Wait! No wait wait! (pulls trigger)Russell: What can I say? I count pretty fast. Now I'm gonna count to 5 again.Milton: And you know what Russell, you're way too fuckin' stupid to count to 5. So fuck you!Russell: Fuck me? Fuck me!?Milton: Yeah fuck you, you shoot me and you can fuckin' kiss all that meth money goodbye!
- You Are Worth Hell: Milton in regards to Skyler.Skyler: You can't save me Milton. I mean look at me! I'm a one way ticket straight to hell. Do you really wanna follow me there?Milton: Only every time I look at you...
Skyler: You said you wanted to follow me straight to hell right? Well guess what! We're here!
- Though later he comes to regret she reveals a grisly secret to him after the time loop kicks in.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Russell is Genre Savvy enough to suspect this. As is Milton.Russell: Here's the thing. If I tell you where it is now, what's to stop you just putting a bullet in me?Milton: Well I can think of a long list of things Russell but number 1 would have to be the fact that...I don't even have "a fucking gun".Russell: (laughs) He doesn't have a gun. (hands him one) Well you do now!
- You Never Asked: Skyler's excuse when Milton discovers his own corpsesSkyler: I know this must be hard. But you need to detach yourself emotionally from all of this.Milton: You tried to kill me.Skyler: Look around Milton, I'd say we did a hell of a lot more than try. The plan was to kill you from the very beginning. I told you that.Milton: You never said that you'd actually done it.