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Reviews for January 14th, 2021

Bloody Hell

Directed by Alister Grierson

      After getting released from prison, Rex (Ben O'Toole) wants to escape all of his troubles. He packs up his bags and flees to Finland, a random country that he chose while in prison. Upon arrival, the man driving him kidnaps him and knocks him unconscious. He wakes up hanging from the ceiling in the basement of a house in the middle of nowhere. His hands tied and part of his leg had been sawed off.

      The less you know about the plot of Blood Hell, the better because it has more than a few unpredictable and surprising twists and turns. The screenplay by Robert Benjamin blends the genres of horror, thriller and dark comedy in a way that avoids unevenness. It's violent with just the right amount of gore that doesn't go overboard. This isn't the kind of movie that relies on gore to shock audiences Hostel and Saw do. Benjamin cleverly adds a surreal character to the movie whose interactions with Rex are refreshingly amusing. That character, who won't be spoiled here, reveals a lot about the way that Rex's mind works without using voice-over narration. At times, what that character says sounds like something that the audience might be thinking to themselves, so perhaps the character is an embodiment of the audience to a certain extent. It's worth mentioning the film is quite self-aware with some witty, tongue-in-cheek dialogue that references similar films without becoming pretentious, annoying or tedious like a Quentin Tarantino film.  

      Bloody Hell also handles the element of exposition wisely while trusting the audience's patience. The filmmakers don't reveal too much about what precisely led Rex into trouble that sent him to prison during the opening scene; they briefly flash back to reveal more details later on while keeping you in a little bit of suspense. The same can be said about the backstory of the depraved family who hold Rex hostage. Although it quickly becomes clear and simple why they kidnapped him, the inner dynamics of the family members and how one of them forms a relationship with Rex add a layer of complexity. Fortunately, this is the kind of movie that knows when to take itself seriously, and when not to. Of course, some suspension of disbelief is required, especially during the somewhat rushed third act, but that's Much like last year's Come to Daddy, it's a wild, wickedly funny and suspenseful ride.

Number of times I checked my watch: 1
Released by The Horror Collective.
Opens in select theaters and on VOD.