NOTE: Here is my review from Soda & Telepaths that was posted back on October 12th, 2020
Bloody Hell is a 2020 horror film that focuses on a man named Rex (Ben O’Toole). Rex tried to do something noble, he tried to stop a bank robbery as it was happening and ended up taking down all of the robbers. Unfortunately his attempt at doing something good for his community ended up backfiring and Rex was sent to jail for 8 years, while also becoming something of a celebrity.
Finding his life unmanageable with constant paparazzi everywhere and the reminders of the robbery, Rex hops on a plane and flies to Helsinki, Finland where he hopes to be able to get some rest and start a new life. Unfortunately for Rex, there’s this family in Helsinki who have this habit of kidnapping people and using their bodies for a source of food and Rex happens to be the next thing on the menu.
OK, that’s the boring plot synopsis part of this review done. From here on out it’s just about a thousand words of me finding various ways to say, “Bloody Hell is bonkers and I want to marry it”.
Bloody Hell is relentlessly over the top, from the minute it starts we have entered a land of hyperactive shot choices and snappy edits that make you feel like you took a hit of every upper known to man. By the time we’re in Helsinki and Rex is hanging up in a basement like a cow waiting to be slaughtered, Bloody Hell hasn’t even begun to go insane… and by that point, we’ve already been introduced to Rex’s imaginary friend who is basically a perfect double of Rex but without the impulse control.
It helps that Bloody Hell’s tone is squarely set at pitch dark horror-comedy, and it never feels like there’s an imbalance. When Bloody Hell wants to scare you with its imagery, it’ll pull out some great atmospheric shots that feel right at home in a good old grindhouse horror (Seriously, any shot taking place in the woods is art and I want it on my wall) but the film also understands that this scenario is a bit silly and isn’t afraid to just mock the insanity of everything. There’s one title card joke right near the end that caused me to make a sound that I didn’t know I could make, the film was just so good at landing those jokes.
A good chunk of Bloody Hell is just Rex talking to his manic double and every single scene with two Rexes is glorious largely due to the fantastic contrasting performances by the lead, who is pulling double duty here. Ben O’Toole delivers a performance that has to be seen to be believed. He turns on a dime from terrified to intimidating to a wise cracking heir apparent to Ash from Evil Dead. Seriously, there’s one scene towards the end where I was just waiting for him to say “Groovy” because he hit that exact sweet spot of badass and cheese.
I also can’t go past pointing out how good the sadistic cannibal family was. We’ve seen plenty of cannibal families in horror, from the Sawyers in Texas Chainsaw Massacre to the Odets in Wrong Turn, but this one stands out because only one member of the family is actually a cannibal and the rest just do what they can to feed their youngest. We don’t get to spend that much time with them and I admit that I would’ve liked a little more time with this weird little clan, but the little time that they have makes them genuinely fascinating antagonists.
Bloody Hell is batshit crazy and I love it. It knows the exact tone it wants to have, the level of silliness it’s willing to go to, just how many boundaries of taste it’s willing to poke at and yet never feels like it’s going too far. It’s dark, but never feels mean spirited. It’s the kind of movie to watch late at night with some friends and a beer to just laugh at the sheer craziness going on. Where the bloody hell has this movie been all my life? Wherever it’s been, I’m glad it’s here now in all its bloody glory.