Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Shirtless Calvin Klein underwear model Tommy (Josh Adamson) is out in Mexico with his metal director while his topless Old Navy model girlfriend Amy (Annika Svedman) lounges on the hooptie while working on that perfect tan. After hours of searching Tommy finally gets a beep from that contraption and gets to digging. The first thing Tommy finds after hours of digging, and being at least six feet underground, which should’ve been a hint and a half for his ass, is a beautiful cross lying on top of box that seems just long and wide and deep enough to fit a body inside. Tommy takes the cross then hears some scratching coming from the box, which naturally would have made anybody else who wasn’t cast in a horror movie titled ‘Desert of Blood’ flee in terror, but my man Tommy leans his head real close to get a good listen. Don’t let me spoil for you what happens to Tommy next.

Back stateside we meet three college hotties who are lounging around the pool and rattling on about some complete nonsense. There’s Maricela (Brenda Romero) who looks similar to actress Elizabeth Pena, where Elizabeth Pena around twenty two years old. There’s Heather (Natalie J. Norton) who could pass for our previous Old Navy models smaller less bodacious sister, only tragically she just doesn’t go topless, and finally there’s Samantha (Tori White) who could actually pass for actress Emmanuelle Chiriqui’s hotter younger sister, while recognizing that Emmanuelle Chiriqui is already fairly young and pretty damn hot.

Anyway, Maricela gets a call that her aunt Sarita (Yvonne Rawn) back in Mexico has had a stroke and she needs some help. What Maricela doesn’t know is that Sairta was paid a visit by her ex-lover from thirty five years ago, Luis (Justin Quinn) who could also be Calvin Klein underwear model under the stipulation that he gained about twenty pounds. You see Luis was the cat in that box that his fellow underwear model colleague unearthed, and now this blood drinking fiend is out looking for revenge and has scared poor Sarita, who’s old now but obviously was hot as hell back in her day, into a stroke out situation.

So our three Malibu hotties pack up and head to Mexico where Luis makes his acquaintance with Maricela, only at night, and steals her heart. Auntie Sarita would like to tell Maricela to stay away from Luis because he’s like undead and stuff, but alas the stroke out has taken her voice. Then there is Father Hernandez (Flint Esquerra) who is unique in this film not only because he’s the only one in town who can presently speak and is aware of Luis Diego, but also because he’s the only person in this movie who’s not really good looking. Unlike say like his assistant and Maricela’s childhood friend Cris (Naim Thomas) who resembles Antonio Banderas before Melanie Griffiths sucked the life out of the poor man. Regardless, Luis just wants revenge and he wants to make everybody pay by killing them all and sucking them dry, but on the other hand he’s really not that bad of a guy, except for, of course, the fact that he incessantly seeks revenge and wants to kill everybody by sucking them dry.

One thing that ‘Desert Blood’ had going for it was that everybody in the movie, except for probably actor Flint Esquerra, who for some odd reason was the only character I could relate to, was beautiful. Even the old people and extras in the movie looked fabulous. Not all of these good looking people could act all that well, but like I always say, you can learn to act but you can’t learn how to gain a genetic advantage. Though it was good see all of these handsome looking people gathered together in this movie, I really didn’t like writer / director Don Henry’s movie all that much. I don’t think his movie really committed to a particular genre as it was horror on one hand, comedy on the other and a romance in other instances. Sometimes I think this can work but in this instance the film came off as inconsistent in tone and uneven in presentation and couldn’t establish a steady and sustainable pace throughout, which kept me from becoming completely involved in its narrative. In addition, the reason’s behind Luis’ origin and how he became of vampire were way to vague and in my opinion should have been explored a bit more, or perhaps left out completely.

Technically speaking, especially considering that is a lower budget feature, the film looks and sounds fantastic. Justin Quinn seemed to struggle a bit as the leading man but Brenda Romero as Maricela was quite competent as the films heroine and made for a very good final girl. The rest of the cast had some peaks and valleys performance wise but as we’ve already determined they were all easy on the eyes and the performances were at least earnest.

‘Desert of Blood’ isn’t completely without entertainment value, we will readily admit, because even through the inconsistent tone there were some good scenes of gore and a couple of funny moments as well. It’s probably not enough for me to give it a solid recommendation, but this is a laudable effort from director Don Henry that only slightly missed its mark by just that much.

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