Ballad in Blood (2016)

Ballad in Blood (2016) MOVIE DETAILS
Name: Ballad in Blood
Year: 2016
Country: Italy
Director: Ruggero Deodato
Main cast: Roger Garth, Ernesto Mahieux, Carlotta Morelli
Runtime: 115 minutes
Production company: Bell Film

Although films under the label Giallo have been appearing since the 1960s and still some are attached to that label nowadays, any lover of the italian-originary genre knows its golden age is long gone. Dario Argento, perhaps the most recognisable names in the genre, is still active writing and directing new titles, and many other filmmakers either from the classic times or just new followers are trying to reproduce the style. But it just is not the same. Maybe the only ones who are managing to release acceptable productions are the french duo Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani with titles like Amer (2009) or L’étrange couleur des larmes de ton corps (aka The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears) (2013), but the rest is mandatorily forgettable.

Ballad in Blood is the product of one of these classic Giallo filmmakers who is still active, Ruggero Deodato, who became one of the big names in the genre with films like La casa sperduta nel parco (aka The House on the Edge of the Park) (1980) and the big time controversial and influential Cannibal Holocaust (1980). This new film has almost all the key points for any Giallo film: knifes, naked bloody ladies, broken glass, disguises… And as many other classic films in the genre, it’s filmed in english in an italian city by an italian crew and an international cast. Still, the formula doesn’t work at all.

The film is a roller coaster of absurdities. It totally feels like it’s filmed with no script at all, because the conversations and the situations seem to be improvised with no talent or idea of what they are doing. The actors are beyond awful and the direction feels extremelly novice, unworthy for a filmmaker with the career and name of Ruggero Deodato. Still, one thing is fair to highlight from this flawed bunch, and is the beautiful photography. Also very in line with classic Giallo, the bright colors create very pretty pictures which almost are the only thing that can keep your interest in the film. The dark scenes at night or the sunny appartment in the morning enlighten the dull sequences giving you the only reason to endure this film until the end.

It really is a pity, the start point sounded promising: a group of international boys and girls living and studying in Italy wake up all hungover after a crazy Halloween party only to find their friend killed laying next to them. But what should be a quest in mystery, a life threatening chase of the truth, becomes a hollow plot full of stupid characters and even more stupid happenings. All with the only purpose of showing off naked girls in a enclosure of puerile enigma.

It really hurts to say this, you must love and respect the classics and director Ruggero Deodato is one of them. But if his big success films in the 1980s were more remembered because of their shock and controversy than for their quality, now in the middle of the 2010s there is nothing to salvage. At this moment, there is no place for bad jokes like Ballad in Blood. It really makes Dario Argento‘s Dracula 3D (2012) be a good movie.

RATE: 2,5/10