Review: Humor and horror coalesce in 'Bloody Hell'
Ben O'Toole shines in darkly comic horror film about a guy whose situation goes from bad to worse
A man boards a plane to Helsinki to escape the nightmare that has become his life only to find himself held captive by a family of cannibal psychos in "Bloody Hell," a raucous midnight movie romp that mixes horror, comedy and romance into one gory good time.
This sharp, funny throw down — directed by Aussie filmmaker Alister Grierson and written by Rochester Hills-raised Robert Benjamin — is "Hostel" with heart, and has plenty of attitude and wit to spare. Rarely is sleaze presented with such a refreshingly sunny outlook.
Ben O'Toole is a standout as Rex, an Army vet living in Boise who halts a bank robbery by flipping the script on the bad guys, grabbing a gun and taking them out. His heroic act has consequences — a bank teller accidentally dies in the gunfire — and Rex is sent to jail for eight years.
When he gets out, he finds himself an unwitting paparazzi target, splashed across magazine covers and recognized wherever he goes. He decides to hightail it to Helsinki — his airplane ticket reads BOI to HEL — and he immediately finds himself in an even worse situation, chained in a basement, down one limb and about to be fed to a flesh-eating man-baby.
Rex — O'Toole plays him like a mixture of a snarky Ryan Reynolds and a brooding '90s-era Stephen Dorff — is kept sane by his id; he talks to an out-of-body version of himself (also O'Toole) who helps keep the tone light. One of his captors, Alia (Meg Fraser), takes mercy on him, and they enter into a flirty relationship, or as flirty a relationship as can be had when one of the parties is tied up, arms above his head, bleeding out from the stump that used to be his right leg.
"Bloody Hell" is an assured work, confident in what it is and not trying to be what it isn't. For a rom-horror-com that works on all fronts, that's a job well done.
Rated R: for bloody violence, gore, and language throughout
Running time: 93 minutes
At the Ford Wyoming Drive-in and on VOD