Horror/Comedies of the modern era are generally a cringe-worthy proposition.
More often than not the filmmakers get the balance horribly wrong or try to make the humour too formulaic and nonsensical, with the end result being a stunted production that seems to get lost in its vain attempt at cleverness.
Not so Bloody Hell, a refreshingly original take on the combined genre that merges the above two genres with enough action that it could easily have been split into two movies.
With a plot that revolves around a recently incarcerated anti-hero (Rex, played by Ben O’Toole) that violently and efficiently foils a bank robbery by taking out the would-be-robbers with their own weapons – but also tragically plays a part in the death of an innocent employee – the story quickly moves to Finland as our reluctant hero/villain decides to flee his growing infamy and start afresh with the assistance of a random spitball blast from a hollowed-out pen which determines his trajectory.
After being kidnapped and gassed by a taxi driver from the airport, Rex awakens to find himself bound by the wrists and hanging from the roof of a dingy basement, the remnants of unnamed victims strewn throughout and painting a bleak future. That and the fact he is now missing his left leg from the knee down…
Enter Rexs’ imaginary friend/conscience/saviour who provides an out of body view and take on proceedings, a damsel in distress (Alia, played by newcomer Meg Fraser), a homicidal and psychotic family of two masked brothers, husband, wife and uncle, plus a largely unseen and cannibalistic man-beast and you have all of the ingredients needed to create a melting pot of violence, murder, mayhem, laughs, and even romance.
There is blood and gore aplenty as well as genuine laugh out loud moments that may have you questioning your own sense of humour but it all combines to provide a highly entertaining mashing of genres that by rights shouldn’t work but surprisingly and almost beautifully does.
While certain parts of Bloody Hell are referenced in other films (but let’s face it, these days how many movies are 100% original) the overall sense of freshness that punctuates the storyline is a credit to director Alister Grierson (Sanctum, Kokoda) and American screenwriter Robert Benjamin.
Shot in Queensland but set between Idaho and Helsinki, Bloody Hell is a major triumph for Australian filmmaking, further enhancing the growing reputation of our local film industry.
You will laugh, cry, cringe, and quite possibly spit your popcorn over the back of the head of the person seated in front of you, but whichever way you look at it Bloody Hell is a movie that should breathe new life into the Horror/Comedy genre that has been gradually losing its appeal.
Review by Kris Peters