The Giallo-inspired horror and thriller Bloody Ballet by the director and co-writer Brett Mullen is an attempt at old-school. It strives to mix horror and eroticism. In the end, he created an aesthetically beautiful, yet complicated movie. For the uninitiated, Giallo is a thriller genre originating from Italy.  You can recognize it by its gore, paranoia, and slasher components. Many dead, beautiful women also tend to manifest in these varieties of films.

We have warned you of those who are sensitive to such depictions. 

Bloody Ballet stars Kendra Carelli (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2)  in the role of the ballerina, Adriana Mena. A ballerina who gained the lead role in The Nutcracker, but at the terrifying price of her own sanity. To add on to the mess, there’s a masked killer who rips apart Adriana’s competition in a bloody fashion. 

Bloody Ballet
Bloody Ballet; Brett Mullen, 2018

Let me preface this entire examination with a warning; I didn’t understand how I should have judged Bloody Ballet. A lot of plot threads happened in this movie that bogged down the tone. Consequently, this problem sent conflicting messages that didn’t mesh with the consistent genre. I recognized an attempt at being over-the-top, psychological, and erotic in the Giallo sphere, but these emotions didn’t hit it for me.

I didn’t feel anything in some of the sequences that I’d recognize as adrenaline or fear. As a result, I’m working under the theory that the intention was a Giallo film, but Bloody Ballet got bogged down.

The Writing and Acting In Bloody Ballet Didn’t Quite Stay En Pointe 

They tried to add too many notes at once with Bloody Ballet. There were too many elements of cliché horror from food turned to worms, ghosts, and evil face-like creatures. Adriana’s reactions to her mental illness weren’t practical as there was a lot of artificial screaming.

At first, it helped that they relied on using dreams as a narrative device, but they relied on them too heavily by the end of the film. After a certain sequence, I would guess that most of what occurred wasn’t one of Adriana’s conscious hallucinations. While I appreciate bizarre material with a lack of coherency as much as anyone, there are a lot of pieces in this puzzle.

Bloody Ballet
Bloody Ballet; Brett Mullen, 2018

Bloody Ballet had a lot of groundless scenes we didn’t need to endure. The B-plot with the investigator who studied ghosts didn’t feel necessary for a film with ballerinas. If you sliced him out, you would create a more memorable piece. You could’ve added in a lesbian sex scene or something of the like if you needed more sexploitation. It felt like watching two different movies at once and not in the good, shrill way that characterizes Giallo. 

Artistry To Make Bloody Ballet Worth Staying to Watch

I liked watching Bloody Ballet for the pretty shots involving dance and the attire of the characters. The music further reminds me of the 90s, which gives me nostalgia. It was an unusual choice to make since I couldn’t place the era because the visuals cues pointed to different timelines. I think it worked because it brings up feelings of unsureness that come with mental illness. 

Bloody Ballet
Bloody Ballet; Brett Mullen, 2018

There is a lot of talent among all the creators of this project and I applaud them for their work. In fact, this movie shows its strength in that regard. Kendra Carelli tried to give a strong performance, but she couldn’t carry the entire movie. The major misstep was the writing, since it lacked focus. I wished they had spent more time with Adriana exploring her psyche. 

The Reasons Why You Might Watch Bloody Ballet

You might draw a lot of inspiration from the pretty costume design and the great music. I’d also say that the cinematography is top-notch, but you’re not going to remember Bloody Ballet for any of its efforts on your emotions.

I wouldn’t put it in the same vein as Black Swan or Suspira. This project, however, does make me want to see future movies of Brett Mullen because he does have technique.

Bloody Ballet by Brett Mullen
Bloody Ballet by the director and co-writer Brett Mullen falters in terms of its writing, but the cinematography is inspired.
Prettiest of Aesthetics
Magnetic Costume Design
Bogged Down Writing
Unnecessary Plotlines
Too Many Elements