March 6, 2020 Ghost Killers vs. Bloody Mary (Movie Review)
Whether one believes in ghosts or not, those ghost-hunting TV shows can be annoying. One goes in hoping there would be something more to it, or at least something approaching 1984’s Ghostbusters or even Scooby-Doo. Instead, one gets multiple night-vision shots of people yelling at nothing in some abandoned building or ruined castle. Urban exploration videos tend to be creepier in broad daylight and without the paranormal additions. If only a ghost or two would appear just to get them to stop.
Luckily, that is a wish Ghost Killers vs. Bloody Mary manages to fulfill for fiction-based catharsis. Originally released in its home nation of Brazil in November of 2018, the film will now make its DVD debut on Tuesday, March 10th, 2019 in North America thanks to Dark Sky Films.
Directed by Fabrício Bittar (First Time 2006, Bugados 2019), who wrote the script alongside Andre Catarinacho (The Divine Comedy 2017, O Galã 2019) and Danilo Gentili (The Dognapper 2013, Gadget Gang in Outer Space 2017), the film is about the titular Ghost Killers. They are a quartet of self-proclaimed paranormal investigators who seek credibility on YouTube. Together they try to fake a haunting in a school bathroom, only to find out the haunting is all too real. Coming face-to-face with the spirit of Catarina the Cotton Girl, aka Bloody Mary (Pietra Quintela: The Noite com Danilo Gentili series, As Aventuras de Poliana series), there is no choice but to finish her off or die trying.
It should be noted that Ghost Killers vs. Bloody Mary is all in Brazilian Portuguese, but there are English subtitles for the Anglophones out there. Furthermore, it aims to follow the spirit of Peter Jackson’s early work like 1989’s Meet the Feebles and 1992’s Braindead. What does it mean? It means buckets of gore, chunks of nudity, and plenty of bad taste humor. Does it hit its mark? Or does it fall short?
It looks good at the start – the titular Killers Jack (Gentili), Fred (Léo Lins: Legendários series. The Laughter of Others 2012), self-proclaimed psychic Caroline (Dani Calabresa: Maybe a Love Story 2018, O Amor Dá Trabalho 2019) and cameraman Túlio (Murilo Couto: Young Hearts series, Agora é Tarde series) make for an interesting cast of characters. Jack has the grifter-esque schemes, Caroline tries to sense ‘energies’ and has predictions that go awry, Fred tries to expand the brand to earn more cash, and Túlio is stuck along for the ride.
The actors have pretty good chemistry with each other, which helps given they have worked with each other for years . Their comic timing is strong, even through the language barrier, and are good for a giggle or two. Like Rei do Mate, one of the film’s actual sponsors, appearing on a YouTube comment distancing themselves from the Killers, or the schoolteachers saying they are neither good comedians nor real actors. When it comes to self-deprecation, Gentili & co are not afraid to cut close to the bone.
Not that every gag manages to land, Gentili & co are more known as stand-ups than actors, and the hokey expressions during high-impact scenes do mar both the horror as well as the comedy. Still, it does what it says on the tin; the blood is near-Braindead levels, flooding floors, spraying from wall to wall, and staining all and sundry. Additionally the effects are all practical too – solid makeup jobs and enough movie blood for a swimming pool or two. They mostly work out, though some seem to cheesy on purpose (again, zombie foetus!).
Still, Ghost Killers vs. Bloody Mary is no Jackson-beater. It has the blood, action and gross-out gags, without them really coming together with 100% effectiveness. For each hit there are one or two misses, which drain the charm shown earlier. Even the biggest bad taste advocates would turn their noses up at some lines or offer a wry smile at best. At least the stunts and effects stay strong throughout. Fans of the genre can add a half-star on top of the score, but for everyone else, and with all things considered, Cryptic Rock gives Ghost Killers vs. Bloody Mary 2.5 out of 5 stars.