The Killer Balloon (2022) Review – Dark Bridges
One of the things I like about Dark Bridges and The Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival is their commitment to Saskatchewan filmmakers. The Killer Balloon, filmed in Swift Current, was this year’s selection, following in the footsteps of Don’t Say Its Name, Instruments of Evil, SuperGrid, and The Druid’s Hand.
Loony The Balloon (Jarod Johnson, Swift Nightmares, Zombageddon) has a problem. He’s just convinced the clown (Scott Winecooler, Vile Spirit, The B-Squad) he’s been tormenting to kill themself, but that left him trapped in the house. Luckily for him, he can talk, and after getting a delivery person to open the door, he’s free to inflict a New Year’s Eve reign of terror on Swift Current.
After a string of random murders that include drowning a young girl (Danika McKenna, Swift Nightmares 2) and recreating Psycho’s shower scene with her mother (Krista McKenna, GOREphers 2, The B-Squad). Nobody is safe as rafters, the homeless, and anyone else Loony encounters meet a violent end.
The balloon eventually makes his way to the home of the perpetually stoned Bradley played by writer/director Devon Oman as Paige (Kelly Ann, Zombageddon 2, Road Trip: The Cursed Tales), Diana (Darnelle Bahnuick, Gorephers, SIN Volume 3) and Jordan (Chyanne Forester, Vile Spirit, Swift Nightmares 2) stop by to make sure his stash doesn’t go to waste.
Devon Oman and his Dead Prairies Productions have been making no budget films like The Killer Balloon and donating the proceeds from their showings to the local humane society since 2012. Which means he and his crew know how to make a film shot for a few hundred dollars look a lot better than it has a right to. There’s even a Jaws parody complete with underwater footage.
As you can probably guess, The Killer Balloon is a horror comedy although it doesn’t really get scary. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have a couple of gory practical effects including a face being ripped off and a castration. There are also some impressively nasty effects in a short film one of the characters watches on television.
As to whether or not you find it funny, that’s really going to depend on your sense of humour. The gags range from parodies of other films to plenty of drug jokes including the balloon taking a Tony Montana style face plant into a pile of cocaine. Probably the film’s funniest, and least PC, joke involves one of Bradley’s stoner friends trying to have sex with the ballon while hallucinating, it’s a great piece of WTF cinema.
Trying to get laughs out of Jordan’s violently abusive ex Tyler (Cole Girodat, Vile Spirit, Swift Nightmares 2) doesn’t work quite as well and just feels a bit off. The cast gives it their all regardless and for a bunch of non-professional actors and actresses, they’re quite good.
While the filmmakers found creative ways to get around the lack of cash, there’s no way to hide the fact that The Killer Balloon is a DIY film. The indoor scenes are all filmed in friends’ and family members’ houses and despite the occasional effect, it’s obvious the ballon is usually just tied to something off camera. On the other hand, the lack of extras does make the New Year’s Eve party MCed by Just Jacob (Jacob Heinrichs, The B-Squad, Zombageddon 3) where the final showdown occurs that much funnier.
If you don’t like extremely low budget films, The Killer Balloon probably won’t change your mind unless you share the filmmaker’s sense of humour. But if you don’t mind no budget cinema you should get a charge out of this. And yes, it is better than Killer Kites.