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Thursday, January 21, 2021

Review: Bloody Hell

Director: Alister Grierson

Screenplay: Robert Benjamin

Year: 2021

"Evil Dead II" is considered by many as the best horror-comedy ever made. Sam Raimi's creativity and Bruce Campbell's charisma was the perfect combination to create the beloved classic and popularize campy and slapstick horror comedies. Why did I start this review talking about "Evil Dead II"? Judge yourself.

After serving eight years of prison, Rex decides to go to Finland to start a new life. Before arriving in the country, he starts feeling that things will not go according to plan, but he could have never imagined what awaited him. Rex wakes up chained in a basement with a missing leg without knowing what happened and now must find a way to escape that place.

“Bloody Hell” begins with Rex, the protagonist, as he is in the line of a bank, and he flirts in the distance with an employee. From that moment, the charisma that the actor Ben O’Toole (“Hacksaw Ridge”) transmits stands out, and immediately we are interested in knowing more about him. A moment later, we witness a group of assailants get into the bank and terrorize those inside. 

I will refrain from revealing the acts that occur there, but they are responsible for Rex having to serve time in prison and afterward deciding to go to Finland to start a new life. AT his arrival in this country, he is kidnapped, mutilated, and kept alive, chained up in a basement. In this basement, we see that Rex suffers from some sort of psychological trauma that allows him to speak with a representation of himself. Suppose it wasn’t enough with the performance that O’Toole achieves with the main character; in that case, we also get the chance to see him in a dual role where he represents Rex’s impulsive side, or the id’s equivalent, leading to several hilarious moments between the two.

The story in Robert Benjamin’s script is simple but effective thanks to its outstanding balance between comedy and gore and the great work of Alister Grierson (“Sanctum”) directing. Clearly, he focuses the movie’s attention on Rex’s character, which collaterally makes the rest of the characters feel underdeveloped or underused. This is not a huge problem because, without a doubt, O’Toole is the great star of the movie, making every scene his with a charisma that can only be compared with the great Bruce Campbell, and this makes you not miss much the other characters. At the end of the day, we get a double dose of the main character.

An effective combination between gore and comedy, along with a charismatic protagonist, is “Bloody Hell”’s letter of presentation, reminiscent of the classic “Evil Dead II”. Although it doesn’t reach the slapstick and gory levels of Raimi’s classic, it offers enough of both to be considered as a fitting homage.

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