BloodRayne (2006) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Uwe Boll, you magnificent bastard!

It has become customary for movie reviewers to refer to director Uwe Boll as the new Ed Wood. In at least one sense, the appellation is appropriate. Both men built reputations as the worst directors of their respective generations. Uwe's work is held in such complete contempt that each of his last three films is among the worst 35 of all time at IMDb, and he has made two others just as bad or worse!

  1. (2.31) - BloodRayne (2005)  (34th worst of all time.)
  2. (2.20) - Alone in the Dark (2005)  (27th worst of all time.)
  3. (2.05) - Barschel - Mord in Genf? (1993)
  4. (2.01) - House of the Dead (2003)  (17th worst of all time.)
  5. (1.98) - German Fried Movie (1991)

Based on the interviews I have seen and read, Uwe is like Ed Wood in one other way. He is in complete denial about the inept nature of his creations. He told one interviewer:

"I think I made a perfect House of the Dead movie, because it really shows how the game is. It's a lot of fun, it's over-the-top action - it's not 28 Days Later, because the reality is that House of the Dead is about how it's a lot of fun to shoot zombies... It's cheesy entertainment with a lot of gore and a lot of violence, and it's super-fast."

He seems to think that he has been singled out for completely undeserved brickbats which have been hurled at his magnificent works by petty critics jealous of his financial success. He may have a point. Nobody in the world can quite figure out how Uwe manages to raise so much money and to get his films distributed theatrically when they are obviously straight-to-vid material, but the fact remains that he has managed to pull it off.

"And all my movies, no matter what reviewers are saying, are getting sold. I am number one in the market as far as paying investors back goes, and that's not because I make the best movies on earth, but I make movies for a minimal amount of budget compared to what major companies are spending, and the movies look good, and they go out theatrically, and they make a lot of money on DVD or Pay TV. (More than 1.4 million copies of the House of the Dead DVD have been sold in North America.) This is the main point - if the movie is really, really bad, why are a hundred territories buying it? It's tough to get my movies on screens in the UK and France, to give a couple of examples, but they do very well in cinemas in Spain, Italy, Russia, Thailand and the Middle East, generally spending a few weeks in the top ten of the box office charts. I can live with that situation. The average Hollywood movie last year had $65 million production costs, and $40 million promotions and advertising costs. My movies have $15 million to $20 million production costs, and $10 million P&A."

In the past, Uwe managed to raise a great deal of cash from German investors on the basis of certain loopholes in the German tax code. Investing in a film could justify a 1-to-1 write-down of the income subject to tax liability. Since the effective tax rate of a typical investor is about 50%, that meant that the German government would essentially match any film investment! Best of all, the tax breaks were permanent, even if the film subsequently made a vast amount of money, because the credit applied to investments, as opposed to losses. Boll pointed out in the commentary for Alone in the Dark:

"Maybe you know it but it's not so easy to finance movies in total. And the reason I am able to do these kind of movies is I have a tax shelter fund in Germany and if you invest in a movie in Germany you get basically fifty percent back from the Government."

The result of the tax break was that a German investor could put a million dollars into a film by only spending half that sum, but would still receive the benefit of the full investment if the film made money. The program was designed to spur investment in the underdeveloped German film industry, but was also used by Hollywood to finance films through German "production companies" which had miniscule involvement in film profuction. The loophole has now been closed. Details here.

It isn't just Boll's uncanny ability to finance films which has baffled people. He also had some mystifying success in obtaining wide theatrical distribution for House of the Dead and Alone in the Dark in North America. The house of cards finally collapsed on BloodRayne. Boll tried to distribute outside of the traditional studio system, and the experiment failed. The independent distributor announced that 2000 screens would be locked up for two weeks, and sent out the appropriate number of prints, but only 985 of the theaters showed the film at all, and only 340 of those held it over for a second week after the film opened in 19th place nationwide. By the third week the theater count had tumbled to 56, and there was no fourth week.

So is BloodRayne any good? Well, I will say this: it is self reviewing. Here is the plot description: "In eighteenth century Romania, Rayne, a sexy dhampir (half-human, half-vampire), prone to fits of blind blood rage but saddled with a compunction for humans, strives to avenge her mother's rape by her father, Kagan, King of Vampires (Sir Ben Kingsley). Two vampire hunters, Sebastian and Vladimir from the Brimstone Society, persuade her to join their battle against the vampire army. Featuring Meat Loaf, Michael Paré, and Udo Kier."

Is a review really necessary? How good could a film be, given that description?

To tell the truth, it's not as bad as the critics contended. In fact, I think the film looks kind of cool. It is not a good movie, but it is nowhere near bad enough to be 34th worst of all time. It's just not the kind of movie which would normally receive theatrical distribution in the USA, and the fact that it did get on 1000 screens, following fairly wide distribution for other Uwe Boll films, probably contributed to the particularly nasty reviews. Theatrical critics don't usually get to see this kind of film. If it had gone straight to video or cable, it would have flown in under the critical radar, and would never have landed on the IMDb Bottom 100. In terms of BloodRayne's visual appeal, it is not fair to compare Uwe to Ed Wood. Wood's films are all jerry-built and cobbled together from whatever he could use for free. BloodRayne has some nice sets, some impressive exterior shots actually filmed on location in the Romanian countryside, and some crisp and clear photography. On the other hand, the critics do have some points when it comes to the silly premise, the bad acting, and the ludicrous dialogue. The script is so sloppy that one of the important characters (played by Billy Zane) just disappears without explanation, and his sub-plot disappears with him. For the record, I'd say BloodRayne is roughly comparable to the later entries in the Deathstalker series in terms of its script, but it is much "bigger" and slicker. If you liked those, unlikely though that may be, you will certainly enjoy this as well.



  • "making of" CGI effects
  • full-length director's commentary
  • director interview - "Dinner With Uwe"
  • The Bloodrayne 2 DVD-rom game for PCs is also included



Kristanna Loken - breasts

Several unknown women - breasts and even one full-frontal in a vampire blood-and-sex orgy.

The Critics Vote ...

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters score it 2.3/10. (34th worst of all time.)
  • Yahoo Movies. Yahoo voters assign a D+, which is the lowest I have ever seen.

  • Box Office Mojo. It grossed $2.4 million with an initial distribution of 985 theaters.
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

Our own guideline:

  • A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre.
  • B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. In order to rate at least a B-, a film should be both a critical and commercial success. Exceptions: (1) We will occasionally rate a film B- with good popular acceptance and bad reviews, if we believe the critics have severely underrated a film. (2) We may also assign a B- or better to a well-reviewed film which did not do well at the box office if we feel that the fault lay in the marketing of the film, and that the film might have been a hit if people had known about it. (Like, for example, The Waterdance.)
  • C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by people who enjoy this kind of movie. If this is your kind of movie, a C+ and an A are indistinguishable to you.
  • C means it is competent, but uninspired genre fare. People who like this kind of movie will think it satisfactory. Others probably will not.
  • C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie, but genre addicts find it watchable. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film, but films with this rating should be approached with caution by mainstream audiences, who may find them incompetent or repulsive or both. If this is NOT your kind of movie, a C- and an E are indistinguishable to you.
  • D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-. Films rated below C- generally have both bad reviews and poor popular acceptance.
  • E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre.
  • F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.


Based on this description, this film is a D+. It's not as bad as the critics contended. In fact, this actually could have been an entertaining movie if it had been played up for bad movie vibes, instead of taking itself so seriously.

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