06th Dec2018

‘Bloody Ballet’ Review

by Faye Ellis

Stars: Kendra Carelli, Debbie Rochon, Rob Springer, Caroline Williams, Katie Carpenter, Brett Wagner, Jae Hitch, Susanne Marie Danger, Tom Gore, Patrick G. Keenan, Jess Barbour | Written by Brett Mullen, Matt Cloude | Directed by Brett Mullen

Bloody-Ballet-Key-Art

I know what you’re thinking. Bloody Ballet. In the same year as the Suspiria remake. Some serious homage going on, right? Well no, not that much actually. Whilst definitely nodding to the Argento classic, this is certainly not trying to be it. Playing out more like Black Swan meets early eighties video nasty, Bloody Ballet, or Fantasma as it is also known, is well worth your time.

Focusing on talented but troubled Adriana (Kendra Carelli), we see her fight her inner demons to accept her worth as the lead in her colleges upcoming performance of The Nutcracker. As if her increasing mental struggles weren’t enough to contend with, there is also the little matter of a giallo-esque murderer targeting dance students, with a penchant for their peepers. Taking comfort in the company of her therapist Dr Caralina Cassinelli (horror favorite Debbie Rochon) we learn that Adriana may hold the key to the killer’s identity.

Adjacent to this, we see detective McCabe (Rob Springer) come to terms with the findings of his ongoing murder investigation. Are the two’s paths somehow connected? You’ve seen enough horrors to know that yes, yes they are.

Writer and Director Brett Mullen clearly knows his stuff, evidently it would seem when it comes to Italian horror. Combining the sleek ideals of giallo villains gone by with the heavy gore we’ve come to expect from the 80’s classics we love, Bloody Ballet looks a dream on screen. For its budget it’s rather impressive, delivering heavy on the kills, blood, neon and synth – everything we want in horror, right? The close-up practical effects are surprisingly gnarly, and made me wince on more than one occasion, no small feat let me tell you. Featuring a tendon cut, and this is a next level tendon cut ladies and gents, I was smiling with glee throughout.

Alongside all this there are some stunning set pieces, particularly a dream sequence involving the devil. It looks gorgeous, and so atmospheric, as does the beautiful opening shot with all its ethereal snow. The performances were good from all concerned, especially The Killer, with their simple smooth white mask, black eyes and raven locks. They just don’t make maniacs like they used to. It was, however, the onscreen relationship from Carelli and Katie Carpenter as best friend Berna that I loved the most, really dug on their chemistry.

Whilst not without its faults, there are certainly not enough to ruin your enjoyment. I personally would have preferred the film to choose one theme or the other, slasher or supernatural. It’s clear what the intention is behind this, but I did feel that it complicated matters somewhat, and would have worked better as a stand-alone killer thriller. That said, I’m not everybody, and I know plenty of folk who would have preferred it to take the paranormal route. Just allow yourself to take it all in and you’ll be alright.

In conclusion, Bloody Ballet is a fun way to while away a Sunday evening, with all its cut throat, eye gouging, creeper stalking goodness. Here’s hoping we see more from Mullen soon.

Bloody Ballet is available on DVD and Digital now, in the US, from High Octane Pictures

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