Bloody Hell is a delightfully wild trip. It’s unforgiving in staying true to its sporadic style, but it’s that commitment that makes it work incredibly well. In a world with no pandemic, this would be the perfect midnight theater experience.
Directed by Alister Grierson with a script by Robert Benjamin, Bloody Hell follows Rex Coen who flees from the United States after a video of him attempting to stop a bank robbery to questionable lengths goes viral. On a whim, he decides to make his way to Helsinki, Finland, where his problems only get worse when he finds himself captured by a family of cannibals. A premise like this can be handled in only so many ways, and thankfully it ended up in the right hands. A perfect blend of dark comedy and horror, Grierson and Benjamin successfully carried out their vision of making Bloody Hell a fun and bloody crowd pleaser.
While every aspect of the filmmaking is on point, the true heart of the movie lies in its lead actor. Ben O’Toole gives a beyond impressive performance as Rex, fully committing to the chaotic insanity that is Bloody Hell. Once it’s revealed that Rex has a tendency to visualize his conscience, a version of himself that only he can see, it’s impossible to take your eyes off of him. Saying that Rex is unhinged is an understatement. As discovered later in the film through flashbacks, a dark part of himself came out in that bank robbery. As his stay in Finland becomes a matter of life or death, he must fully come to terms with that part of himself.
Despite the over-the-top violence, Bloody Hell’s got some surprising depth. The one person that Rex is able to connect with while in captivity is Alia (newcomer Meg Fraser), the daughter of the cannibal family who chooses not to partake in her family’s misdeeds. Alia attempts to help with his wounds and through their interaction it’s clear that Alia wants to escape her family. Rex begins arguing with himself (literally) about whether he should save Alia. Having his conscience be visible both to him and to the audience manages to be more than just a gimmick. It’s what helps make Bloody Hell relatable enough to not just feel like total schlock. Having a good understanding of Rex is vital to the story, and without O’Toole’s fearless performance, it wouldn’t be nearly as effective and memorable.
Bloody Hell was made to be a midnight movie, in the best way. It’s completely aware of itself and doesn’t hold back whatsoever. It proves that you don’t have to sacrifice quality to make a balls-to-the-wall crazy movie. As long as the intentions stay true, a solid film can be made from the craziest of premises.
Dir: Alister Grierson
Scr: Robert Benjamin
Cast: Ben O’Toole, Caroline Craig, Matthew Sunderland, Travis Jeffery, Meg Fraser
Prd: Brett Thornquest, Joshua Paul
DOP: Brad Shield
Runtime: 95 minutes
Bloody Hell is screening as part of the Nightstream film festival and has no official release date at this time.