Saturday, April 9, 2016

In short: Bloody Mallory (2002)

Mallory (Olivia Bonamy) – turned demon hunter when her newly wedded husband turned out to be a demon and tried to sacrifice her during the wedding night to gain more demonic powers –, her trans explosives expert Vena Cava (Jeffrey Ribier), mute body-hopping girl child telepath Talking Tina (Thylda Barès) and Inspecteur Durand (Thierry Perkins-Lyautey) are France’s answer to the BPRD, hunting ghosts and ghoulies wherever they may roam. When attempting to save a bunch of nuns from the dubious amorous advances of a gaggle of ghouls, the team is attacked by something much worse, leaving Durand dead, Tina in a coma, Vena Cava badly hurt, and Mallory royally pissed off.

At the same time, the same sort of boogie kidnaps the new, ultra-reactionary Pope (Laurent Spielvogel). Clearly, it’s all part of a fiendish plan, but just as clearly, Mallory and her now not terribly fit team might be in over their heads countering it.

Still, plot developments lead Mallory to a French village that has been sucked into a different dimension, Tina into a bunch of exciting new bodies, see Vena Cava get better right quick, and have them team up with not exactly successful papal bodyguard Carras (Adrià Collado).

If you can imagine an improbably cheap yet vigorous and excitable, generally tasteless yet imaginative cross between Hellboy and Buffy, you have developed quite a clear picture of what Julien Magnat’s film is all about. Why, it even has the (for the Buffy side) mandatory romance with a demon of dubious allegiance.

What it obviously doesn’t have is Joss Whedon’s dialogue, making up for that by being in turns rude, unpleasant, and pretty darn funny, at least as far as the subtitles tell me. If this is actually the height of French language dialogue writing when you speak the language, please correct me, French language speakers.

Anyway, the film’s plot doesn’t make terribly much sense (nor does it try to) but it does make up for that by demonstrating a fine sense for the bizarre and by quickly going from one bit of good, cheap fun to the next, making the best possible use of very limited means and creating its own little off-kilter world. It’s a charming affair of the sort that’s cheap but not dumb, deeply silly, a bit cantankerous, bloody, and generally feels like a labour of love. And labours of love go a long way with me.

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