Updated: Feb 11
Directed by Alister Grierson, written by Robert Benjamin, starring Ben O’Toole, Meg Fraser, Caroline Craig, Matthew Sunderland & Ashlee Lollback.
When playing the hero goes wrong, the decline of Finnish hospitality, and the worst case of club-foot ever.
Let’s take a look at what goes on with Bloody Hell.
Helsinki, Finland - A child named Alia runs through the woods; she seems terrified. Torchlight sweeps behind her, and voices call her name. Reaching the nearby lake, she realises that she is trapped and as the figures close in; Alia takes the only way out she can think of and throws herself into the lake.
Produced by Eklectik Vision and Heart Sleeve, Bloody Hell then switches location to Boise, Idaho.
What seems like an ordinary day, is soon punctuated by violence as an armed robbery occurs, and a man named Rex (Ben O’Toole) intervenes and faces off against the thieves. As a reward for his heroism, he finds himself imprisoned for eight years.
Upon release; Rex finds he’s now something of a local celebrity; on the cover of magazines, hounded by local reporters; that sort of thing.
Wanting to get away from his past, Rex uses a “very scientific, very calculated reason,” and leaves Idaho far behind him as he makes his way out to start a new life in Finland.
Unfortunately for Rex, he’s barely left the airport when he awakens from his taxi-ride to find himself trussed up in a cellar, with barely a leg to stand on.
Rex soon discovers that he’s being kept for food, which obviously, he is not too happy about. The only upside; is the presence of the now grown-up Alia, whose family were responsible for his current predicament.
Alia has been trying to escape her messed up family for decades, with no real success, and now she sees her chance again in the form of Rex. That is if he can manage to free himself.
Alia isn’t his only possible saviour though. There’s also Rex himself.
No, I’m not getting all deep and meaningful with that statement, it’s actually because Rex visualises his inner self. He projects his inner voice, and thoughts, as a manifestation that interacts with him. Naturally, it is all in his head, but that doesn’t stop him from talking to himself.
The writing, acting and directing are all on point in Bloody Hell with no extraneous fluff or nonsense getting in the way of proceedings. It has a story to tell, and it gets on with it. The character of Rex is instantly likeable, and even a little relate-able, although that may raise more questions about me than it does about the movie.
Moving on though, and I loved everything about the film, the only exception being Alia’s moment of introspection where she tells her story to Rex, whilst he’s still dangling from the ceiling, and I couldn’t help thinking, ‘hey, how about you cut him down first, and then tell your damn story?’ But other than that, I had no issues with the story.
The actors all do a great job, especially Ben O’ Toole, who has had minor parts in movies such as Hacksaw Ridge and Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazars Revenge. Until this movie though, I wasn’t familiar with Ben’s work, but boy, does he get it spot on here. His need to do the right thing, mixed with a cheeky playful attitude that’s garnished with a large dollop of snarky attitude, just works well. And, it’s that need to do the right thing and be the hero, that gets him into his predicament. That being said, I’d like to think that in the same situation at the start of the film, I’d react in the same way; albeit with less finesse, and a lot more puffing and wheezing.
But, it’s that attitude, that just makes you like the guy, despite his issues. But let’s face it, if the first thing you want to do when released from prison is sit down and enjoy a burger, I’d want to throw a table at the group of paparazzi that were hounding me too.
Ben is an actor that I hope to see more of, and as a result of this, I’m going to be checking out the 2018 movie Nektrotronic, that he also starred in.
Speaking of other actors that I’m not familiar with, Meg Fraser is here in her first feature role, having only (as far as I know) been in the short film Leech. Again, as with O’Toole, her performance is spot on for the character. She manages to be caring, scared and alluring, whilst also carrying an undertone that she may be bat-shit crazy as well. Not to the level of the rest of her family perhaps, but there is certainly something lurking below the surface; something that Rex can probably relate to.
She certainly has a few skeletons in her closet, although nowhere near as many as her brother Pati, but the less said of him the better; just in case he hears me and is feeling hungry. At least he doesn’t look like he’s a permanent member of the Draco Malfoy fan-club, unlike the rest of her brothers.
Not to dismiss the rest of the cast, they all do a great job and are spot on with their portrayals, but it’s these two leads that captivate and entertain the most.
Director Alister Grierson, also brought us the 2011 movie Sanctum, something else that I haven’t yet seen, but based on Bloody Hell, will be added to my ever-growing ‘watch-list.’
Sound, lighting and set design are all on point too, with nothing feeling out of place, or artificial. The music takes some nice tonal shifts, as it changes to fit the on-screen moments. Creepy when it needs to be, quirky at other times.
Visual effects are great too, and the amount of detail on Rex’s stump was perfect. Obviously, some parts were CGI, but when Alia was washing it, and you could see individual hairs on his leg, well, that looked like a real leg to me. Whether that was achieved by a prosthetic, the actor’s leg with CGI doing some work, on an amputee stand-in, I don’t know, but it looked fantastic.
Everything fits together nicely and everyone involved in the movie, has made something entertaining, and I hope it finds its audience.
As you can probably tell, I’m a fan of Bloody Hell, and highly recommend that you check it out. Those looking for something ultra gory, probably won’t find a lot here to hold their interest, but for anyone looking for a horror flick that has a streak of dark humour, and who wants to be entertained by a fresh look at a slightly familiar story, then you certainly can’t go wrong with Bloody Hell.
There’s a tiny mid-credit scene too, which manages to not feel out-of-place or simply bolted on, and served as a reminder for something that was mentioned in the movie.
You can find the movie here on Amazon prime in the UK.
And here for the US.