DISMAL aka BLEED Reviews and overview

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‘Eat or be eaten’

Dismal is a 2009 American horror feature film about a group of students on a field trip to swamps who come up against backwoods cannibals. It has also been released as Bleed

Directed by Gary King (Among Us) from a screenplay written by Bo Buckley, the Fearmakers Studios production stars Lydia Chandler, Tim Morris (In the Pines), Bill Oberst Jr. (3 From Hell; The Chair; Ditch Day Massacre; Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies; et al) and Jack Harrison (Attack of the Alien Jelly Monsters from the Depths of Uranus; Savage, 2011).


Dana (Lydia Chandler) is failing Biology. To pass she must attend an extra credit assignment with several classmates that will lead them into a remote region of the Great Dismal Swamp, a place teeming with life… and death.

While the group keeps one eye out for hungry bear, deadly snakes and lurking gators, they are unaware of the real danger. For the top of the food chain lives in a dingy cabin not too far from their campsite and he has an appetite for human flesh…


“Oberst puts his twelve years of theatre acting to good measure […] Morris also shows that characters do not necessarily need to be one dimensional. Bo Buckley’s writing develops the bait and switch with quiet charm to later hellish delight. There are higher quality elements in Dismal, but the film as a whole does not rise above conventions.” 28 Days Later Analysis

“The scenery and settings are good. The gore is plentiful and creative, its a mix of good looking practical effects and some not so great CGI. Pacing is great as this film never gets boring. It has a good and fitting soundtrack, the acting is good and especially Bill Oberst, Jr. is great as Ranger Dale.” Independent Flicks

Dismal is grisly fare, reminding this reviewer of old school Australian horror films, not slick or stylized at all, just gritty, gruesome horror. Oberst, as usual, dominates the film, who not only has the best lines but mostly controls the action. Chandler, as the plucky Dana, puts in some decent face time…” MatchFlick

” …it’s a decent effort but it’s derivative and familiar material that we’ve seen time and time again. That combined with some lacklustre special effects work knocks the grade down a bit on this one. It strives to be a Wrong Turn (2003) or Hatchet (2006) but falls short of the mark. Not quite a recommend but perhaps a rental.” McBastard’s Mausoleum

“Other than the sluggish first half and sh*tty characters and predictable plot, Dismal is a fairly entertaining redneck inbred cannibal mutant flick.” The Video Vacuum

Cast and characters:

Lydia Chandler … Dana
Tim Morris … Curt
Bill Oberst Jr. … Dale
Jack Harrison … Idiot
Capel Kane … Shelly
Will Triplett … Gary
Jade Arnold … Jamal
Meagan Reedy … Eve
Brent Lovell … Brady
Gabe Wood … Tough Poacher
James B. Mahorney … Skittish Poacher
Justin Soponis … Keg Operator
Laurie Kimsey … Kimmy
Chase Alger … Lead Singer

Technical details: 

79 minutes
Aspect ratio: 1.85: 1

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