Bloody Hell begins with Rex (Ben O’Toole) being released from prison after eight years. He did what everyone hopes to do in a life or death situation. He stood up to the bad guy and saved the day. However, Rex caused an unnecessary death. Now, free but infamous for his role in that unnecessary death, he struggles to return to a normal life. When he decides to take a trip to Finland (simply because he hit that particular country on a map with a spitball), he finds himself in a bloody hell of a mess with a uniquely twisted Finnish family. In order to save his life, Rex must persevere through one of the most ridiculous horror stories of all time.
Horror and comedy often play well together but can sometimes result in a less-than-ideal response from viewers. Writer Robert Benjamin finds a happy balance between the two genres, however, and beautifully molds the two into one, cohesive and twisted journey of life and death. Bloody Hell, in the most perfect of ways, takes the most intense situations and manages to throw in absolutely absurd humor in a flawless fashion. There are times when scenes become too intense, and, wisely, Benjamin and director Alister Grierson insert comedy to both lighten the mood and further explain the situation at hand. This delightful juxtaposition allows the film to play out smoothly and attract a variety of viewers.
“…free but infamous for his role in that unnecessary death, [Rex] struggles to return to a normal life.”
There is so much to love about Bloody Hell, including its story and the action sequences, but the most enjoyable aspect of Grierson’s movie is O’Toole. His ability to connect with viewers and bring each and every scene to life is unfaltering and damn near perfect. The actor is tasked with playing a series of roles (multiple versions of himself) throughout the film. While this can be a tall order, O’Toole does this with such vim and vigor that nothing ever feels forced or out of place. Seeing Rex grapple with his own disposition is a testament to his ability to convey a great deal of characters and bring to life every aspect of the writer and director’s vision. The comedic approach that Rex takes when dealing with his emotions and the deplorable situation into which he has been thrown sees O’Toole shine brightly and presents him with the opportunity to showcase all his capabilities.
The writing immeasurably helps O’Toole. Robert Benjamin is the curator of both the drama and comedy, and he takes what could have been quite simple in its approach to a new, ingenious level. His characters, not just Rex, are dynamic and multidimensional. In addition, the ever-changing story and equally dark and comedic tone provide viewers with some insight into how wonderfully twisted and splendidly talented Benjamin is.
With a constant adjustment to tone, it runs the risk of losing continuity, but, like the rest of the film, the tone, regardless of its twists and turns, intrigues viewers and effectively keeps them on their toes. Truly, no one knows what to expect when watching the movie, and that’s part of its charm. Grierson, Benjamin, and O’Toole have an instant hit on their hands as Bloody Hell is possibly the best combination of horror and comedy I’ve ever seen in cinema.
"…possibly the best combination of horror and comedy I've ever seen in cinema."