It is never good to blame a project’s low or non-existent budget on a film’s lack of artistic success. Some filmmakers can either use their lesser budgets to their advantage (sparking creativity out of necessity),while some are overcome by not having the proper funds. Monty Light’s “Blood Covered Chocolate” is definitely hurt by its budget, suffering from a creative but sloppy visual style and too many offbeat performances that give the movie a “young film student with his first camera” feel.
Massimo (Michael Klug) and Tien (a solid Christine Nguyen) are a happy couple. Both are recovering addicts who are celebrating Massimo’s first full year of complete sobriety.
During an opening scene of the couple having dinner with Massimo’s mother, Barbara (Debra Lamb in a strange performance) and his mob boss stepfather, Crate (an equally strange Joe Altieri), the couple’s stability is thrown into disarray.
Crate is suspect regarding Tien’s motives, demanding Massimo break it off with her due to a sinister issue within their family.
Eventually, Massimo is visited by the mysterious vampire Sophia (Meghan Deanna Smith), who sinks her teeth into the distraught man, turning him into a bloodsucking shapeshifter.
As he continues with his criminal duties for his stepfather, Sophie sets Massimo up with a prostitute named Candy (Helene Udy), as she is to be his first kill.
As Massimo becomes more and more the monster, everything begins to fall apart.
His part in Crate’s criminal world puts all in danger, his relationship with Tien (and his mother) disintegrates, and even Sophia comes to realize he cannot handle the world of the undead.
Solely written and directed by Monte Light, the film tries its damndest to go for a stylistic approach. The director’s shot compositions mostly work (thanks to the interesting eye of cinematographer Neal Tyler), but there are too many directorial flourishes that cause the film to get bogged down by its overly directed visual presentation. Filmed in black-and-white, the whole exercise looks and feels sloppily constructed.
Michel Klug is miscast in the lead. His performance doesn’t have the weight to pull off the intricacies of the character (such as they are), nor can he successfully navigate the discordant shifts throughout.
Regarding its tone, the picture is recklessly uneven and can’t find a solid dramatic ground on which to land.
When doing a work that mixes genres, a filmmaker must find a way to seamlessly weave the different styles into a cohesive whole. Perhaps the perfect example, John Landis did so well infusing comedy and terror in his 1981 classic “An American Werewolf in London”.
Due to his jagged screenplay, Light cannot find the proper balance of Horror, Crime Film, and Sexual Thriller he is looking to achieve.
The characters that populate “Blood Covered Chocolate” are extremely difficult to care for.
Klug and Nguyen have zero chemistry. Their scenes of romance fail to convince while their sex scenes (the director apparently taking advantage of the actress’s Adult and Softcore film career) have zero heat.
It needs to be stated that Christine Nguyen gives a good performance. The actress successfully navigates the potholes in the script and finds a real character. I wish the film hadn’t let her down, as Nguyen proves to have some acting talent.
The other characters are simply too underwritten and/or over performed to give a whit about.
The idea for “Blood Covered Chocolate” is intriguing and the title is certainly catchy. Unfortunately, due to a jumbled screenplay, maddeningly annoying characters, and creative camera angles defeated by bad framing and disorganized editing, Monty Light cannot piece together an interesting film.
Blood Covered Chocolate
Written & Directed by Monty Light
Starring Michael Klug, Christine Nguyen, Meghan Deanna Smith, Joe Altieri, Debra Lamb, Helen Udy
NR, 82 Minutes, American Courtyard Productions/Atomic Finch Productions