Starring: Caroline Williams, Katie Carpenter, Debbie Rochon, Kendra Carelli
Written by: Brett Mullen and Matt Cloude
Directed by: Brett Mullen
Running Time: 89 Minutes
Reviewed by: Dan Oles
Bloody Ballet is admirable in its ambition. It can’t ultimately climb above the bracket it stuffed itself into being a genre homage on a budget so that it never feels quite either original or transcendently quality in its execution, but it tries its damndest and that echoes throughout the familiar ride.
We’ve got a sample platter film festival darlings that mix on occasion but mostly remain separated and somewhat alienated. We have the Suspiria meets Black Swan tale of best-of-rivals ballet dancers old, enough to make hanky-panky but young enough to think halter tops with slogans are a good idea. Then, shy of the halfway mark and so jarringly distinct I thought it was another film spliced into the dancer drama, we meet a ghost hunter guy wandering around the same locations as the dancer characters and blatantly being told ‘they don’t know that they’re dead’ by the traditional mysteriously vague original resident guy who always seems to inhabit horror films. So it’s not flashbacks we’re seeing, it’s ghostly visions. That might have made for a nifty twist but it’s spoiled as I stated rather rapidly it it was intended to be one.
Nobody has very much character. The dancers are chipper and not bad to look at in the slightest, but by the time you realize this is half slasher film you know a majority of them will be dead in no time. As for the ghost hunter guy he has about as much character as he has lines or dialogue, which is to say not much.
The circumstances are boilerplate, but at least the aesthetics are intriguing. A lot of effort went into recreating the inspirations of Bloody Ballet. The splatter is distinctly ‘of a time’ and when bathed in harsh lighting and with the ever-present thrum of synth or a cutaway sequence of surreal imagery you can in sere moments buy into this being a lost 70s drive in flick.
But then there will be a massive awkward bout of exposition or a gratuitous sequence of nudity and you are pulled back into the contemporary world of horror films and their modern tropes. For a film that desperately wants to evoke the past it only goes so far to attempt this. A film with a John Carpenteresque pounding score seems off center to a movie also featuring modern cars and cell phones. Also classic horror tended to get to the point…or have a point to get to.
This is horror and nostalgia fluff served in gold leaf. Not much below the surface but everyone seems to be having a good time and it’s an impressive achievement for a smaller production to even approach an Italian Giallo vibe.
It’s a bit long but it still feels rushed: like a majority of the movie is empty space of wandering around and spinning subplots that never quite connect.
A game effort but it would have been nice to expand on some of the ideas and expend with the glitz that fails to add up after awhile. Genre fans give it a look see.
Horror fans might find some fun gore. Drama and story fans however might find the overture interesting but the concert itself lackluster.
Anti-Hero: an original motion comic series with professional voice actors!