Movie Review – The Ringmaster (2018)

The Ringmaster, 2018.

Directed by Søren Juul Petersen.
Starring Anne Bergfeld, Karin Michelsen, Damon Youthful, Mads Koudal and Kristoffer Fabricius.



Two fuel station attendants are kidnapped and compelled to participate in a sadistic reside present on the web.


Danish horror film The Ringmaster – identified in different territories as Finale – is a confused movie. It opens with a determine stood in entrance of a pink curtain, delivering “a pleasant phrase of warning” in regards to the content material of the film, in a transparent homage to the opening of the 1931 traditional Frankenstein. Whereas this reference roots the film within the earliest days of horror, what follows is each inch a product of the noughties and the post-Iraq Struggle fascination with “torture porn”. The obvious comparability level for this disappointing pain-fest shouldn’t be the work of James Whale, however Eli Roth’s Hostel movies.

It’s a movie of two halves, with the midpoint that includes these two halves overlapping and criss-crossing one another in an pointless flourish of non-linear narrative. Fuel station attendant Belinda (Karin Michelsen) is on an evening shift with the boss’s daughter Agnes (Anne Bergfeld), with few clients anticipated as a result of Denmark is competing in some form of sporting closing. A couple of assorted oddballs pop in all through the evening and, steadily, the 2 girls start to sense that one thing is mistaken. Flashes of the longer term inform us that the actual one thing mistaken is a grisly, violent net torture present presided over by a devilish ringmaster (Damon Youthful) – PT Barnum with bloodlust and a blowtorch.


The primary half of The Ringmaster is fairly nicely put collectively, helped by participating performances from Bergfeld and Michelsen. Their barely antagonistic banter is gratifying and the scenes of ever-so-slightly off-kilter clients arriving escalate brilliantly within the palms of director Søren Juul Petersen. It’s in these scenes that The Ringmaster feels closest to the slashers of the Eighties, earlier than its flash-forwards to torture drag it into the much less exalted world of the blood-soaked 2000s.

As soon as the pair are kidnapped, the film deploys some barely awkward stylistic tips to arrange its twisted web stream – described as “a horror circus”. Occasional pictures of the quickly scrolling reside chat perform are interesting, however they rob the stress and momentum from the occasions occurring within the grim room through which the torture unfolds. Damon Youthful makes a good fist of the closely made-up frontman of the darkish efficiency, growling away with a voice and method that resembles a form of sadistic Rowan Atkinson.



The problem is that, from then on, the film is simply context-free torture. There’s no grand message in regards to the escalating extremity of on-line content material and nothing to actually skewer those that spend their time in search of out probably the most offensive materials they will discover. As an alternative, the ultimate 45 minutes or so of the film is only a parade of screaming and gore. When one character comes throughout a portray of a gladiator struggle, it’s tough to not groan at how on the nostril all of it is.

Regardless of its early recommendations of being impressed by the wealthy historical past of horror cinema, The Ringmaster is as an alternative marooned in the identical form of pondering that has seen the Noticed franchise constantly resurrected – years after everybody stopped watching it. Had it been launched within the mid-noughties, Petersen’s film may have garnered a cult viewers of gorehounds in search of out its forbidden excesses. In 2020, nonetheless, it’s all simply outdated hat.


Flickering Fable Ranking – Movie: ★ ★ / Film: ★ ★

Tom Beasley is a contract movie journalist and wrestling fan. Observe him on Twitter via @TomJBeasley for film opinions, wrestling stuff and puns.


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