You may be asking yourself what action flicks have to do with horror. Most people might agree that the two genres have almost nothing to do with one another other than occasional gratuitous violence. However, some classics such as The Silence of the Lambs (Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, 1991), Se7en (Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, 1995) and Red Dragon (Edward Norton, Anthony Hopkins, 2002) may beg to differ. Though it falls short of these brutal hard-hitting classics, Black Rose holds its own pairing reminiscence of Jean-Claude Van Damme, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Steven Seagal classics with mystery thrillers featuring horror undertones.
Former Russian bodybuilder, Alexander Nevsky, has made a name for himself in recent years acting in action flicks such as Moscow Heat (2004) and Treasure Raiders (2007). This time around, Nevsky dabbles in the crime/thriller genre with a touch of horror. Taking on double duty weight of Black Rose, Nevsky serves, not only as the lead role of Vladimir Kazatov, but the film’s director.
When young Russian-American women turn up as mutilated corpses on the streets of Hollywood with a black rose clenched in their mouth, the LAPD are at a dead end finding no leads as no one is willing to talk. In hopes to gain the trust of the surrounding Russian community, the LAPD enlists the help of Vladimir Kazatov; a Russian Police Major from Moscow. As a bureaucratic nightmare who plows through red tape and burns the rulebook, Kazatov is paired up with Emily Smith, a rookie portrayed by Kristanna Loken (Terminator 3, BloodRayne) as the last hope to putting an end to this sadist serial killer.
Opening with a heated hostage situation, Black Rose wastes no time establishing Vladimir as a badge carrying powerhouse rebel who sets aside the rules when traditional law enforcement measures fail. The same day he arrives in Hollywood, Vlad stops a mugging by killing one perpetrator and crippling another. These two scenes set the tone for a rapid-fire action flick leading one to expect a feature resembling Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 1993 action adventure film Last Action Hero. However, Black Rose trades excessive explosions and adventure for crime investigation mixed with horror as more bodies begin dropping the closer Vlad and Emily get to bringing the killer to justice.
Though it is no Silence of the Lambs or Die Hard, Black Rose entertainingly combines the two worlds. For a directorial debut, it holds together well offering a little action, mystery, and thrill. Though the plot could have increased the intensity by adding more of a cat and mouse aspect within the investigation, the story is appealing enough for this film to not go unnoticed. It will be released in theaters on April 28, 2017 and available on VOD and DVD on May 2nd.