Shot under the title Fantasma, Bloody Ballet is director Brett Mullen’s second feature after 2014’s Bombshell Bloodbath. Here instead of zombies, he turns his attention to the world of dance and mysterious, masked killers.
Adriana (Kendra Carelli, The Dark Within, Army of One) should be happy, she’s just landed the lead in a new version of The Nutcracker. Instead, she’s a mess, plagued by anxiety and visions of her parent’s unsolved murders. Even the experimental drug her psychiatrist (Debbie Rochon, Model Hunger, Slime City Massacre) puts her on doesn’t help much. Then members of the dance company start turning up dead. There’s also a subplot involving a reporter (David Schifter Eyeborgs), investigating an abandoned, and haunted asylum. The connection isn’t made until near the film’s end but you can probably guess it well before that.
The film’s publicity materials make comparisons to Suspiria but the film has much more in common with Giallo than witchcraft. The first killing even has a nice reference to Deep Red just to make its influences absolutely clear. But even if it didn’t, the neon colored lighting and Goblinesque score along with the frequent nudity and gore would. Bloody Ballet certainly manages to get the look of the originals right.
Plot wise it’s another matter. The film starts strong but starts to go off the rails around the halfway mark. It doesn’t get boring but it does
Playing spot the cameo might help, however, as sharp-eyed genre fans will notice several familiar faces. Caroline Williams (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Hanukkah), Brett Wagner (The Crazies, Dances With Werewolves) and John Migliore (The Heretics, Ouija Shark) as TV horror host Baron Blood.
Running a quick 80 minutes Bloody Ballet never drags but it should have been a lot better. The material was there, the script just never makes proper use of it. The film looks and sounds great, but overall it’s just middle of the road with the occasional excellent set piece. Giallo fanatics might find it more enjoyable than the average viewer.
Bloody Ballet is available on VOD via High Octane Films.