Friday, June 28, 2024

Bloodline Killer, on Tubi

It is Halloween night. If horror fans think they know what that means, they are probably right. A masked serial killer will murder Moira Cole’s husband Dillon and leave her grown sons scarred for life (in one case, literally). Perhaps the worst part is the axe-killing comes from inside the family in Ante Novakovic’s Bloodline Killer (a.k.a. The Skulleton), which starts streaming today on Tubi.

Frankly, it would have been worse if Cole had not come out of the house with her firearm loaded and ready. She put several shots in the so-called “Skulleton” killer. It was enough to blast him off her son Conor, but he still manages to get away. Yet, it is not exactly a clean getaway. It turns out the nurse attending the Coles recognizes their description of the masked killer as her brother. Instinctively knowing where he might flee, she finds him, drugs him, and securely chains him up in her basement. He would probably be happier in that mental hospital Michael Meyers kept escaping from.

Years later, the lack of closure torments the Coles. They are also disgusted by the exploitative
Skulleton movie franchise, much like the Stab movies in Scream. The Cole Brothers barely contain their mutual hostility, which is awkward, since they both still live with mom. Understandably, she remains reluctant to confess she probably knows the Skulleton and might have witnessed his first murder at an early age. She has suppressed the details, but eventually her ancient-hippy-looking shrink, played by Bruce Dern (a two-time Oscar nominee), will drag it out of her—probably around the time Skulleton escapes for another Halloween killing spree.

Clearly, Novakovic and screenwriters Anthony & James Gaudioso, who play Det. Trusten James and Conor Cole, were inspired by the old school
Halloween franchise, including the maligned sequels that made Michael Meyers and Laurie Stode long lost siblings. The early Haddon-esque vibe is quite nice, but the contrivances are annoying and the entire mid-section moves slower than molasses.

Although the two Gaudiosos do not play the Cole brothers, somehow James Gaudioso and Drew Moerlein truly look related—they could maybe even pass for twins. Shawnee Smith from the
Saw franchise credibly grounds the film as resilient Mother Cole. However, most of their family drama is poorly written and over-wrought. Tyrese Gibson basically grimaces his way through the film as Det. Cyphers—and who can blame him? Probably the best work in the film comes from the Skulleton mask, which is admittedly creepy. It is donned by Adam Shippey, who hulks and rages well enough, when the sluggish script allows him to.

Bloodline Killer
starts with a legitimately scary prologue, but fans will be disappointed that it cannot sustain that energy. The plot holes and logical gaps do not help either. However, Second Amendment advocates should appreciate it as a positive case study for gun-ownership. Not recommended, Bloodline Killer starts streaming today (6/28) on Tubi.