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Friday, October 4, 2019

BALLET BLANC -- DVD Review by Porfle

If you're looking for something weird to watch--and I mean, really weird--look no further than writer-director Anne-Sophie Dutoit's BALLET BLANC (2018).  Because this is one seriously weird movie.

Dark, enigmatic, and practically unfathomable, it's the sort of deeply unsettling narrative that most people will either shrink away from pretty quick or else stay riveted to like a bird being hypnotized by a snake, helplessly waiting for it to strike.

A young orphan boy named Coco (Colter Carlbom-Mann), wearing long, girlish hair and dressed in a white tutu, silently dances a somber ballet during church choir practice while a witchy eccentric, Mrs. Willis (Shelley Starrett), looks on with an appreciative smile. She seems to be recognizing and/or evaluating his potential.

Before we know it, she has somehow adopted the troubled boy--whose parents recently died in a fire from which he narrowly escaped--and is now indoctrinating him, steeping him like a highly-absorbent teabag, in the bubbling cauldron of her own warped and deeply disturbing lifestyle and philosophies.

If any other movie had been photographed this dark, I'd probably think it a flaw. But BALLET BLANC belongs in the dark.

I won't even go into the extremes of strangeness to which both we and the regrettably very impressionable Coco are subjected under flickering candles or the fading glow of eerie twilight where unimaginable things are consumed, graves are exhumed, and the hapless social worker (Brian Woods) who arrives to investigate neighbors' complaints is, by our best guess, doomed.

Woods gains our sympathy playing a character with good intentions whose personal religious faith is seriously tested as things go from uncomfortable to insufferable during his traumatic visit. As the monstrous Mrs. Willis, Starrett out-weirds Susan Tyrell in a chilling, full-bodied performance. And Colter Carlbom-Mann is pretty amazing as Coco, the caterpillar who threatens to emerge from its cocoon a monster.

The film is intensely effective for most of its running time, stumbling only in the final act when the increasingly hostile Coco is being held under scrutiny in a white room and interrogated by mysterious people from behind a two-way glass.

Here, the tightly-knit story begins to unravel a bit as some conventional horror movie elements creep in to undermine our anticipation of a fully original and surprising finale.

Even so, horror fans looking for something immersively dark and disturbing should endeavor to experience BALLET BLANC. It's the sort of creepy-crawly chiller that grabs on and clings to you like a leech.

Read more about it at Indican Pictures

Runtime: 90 minutes
Format: 1:78 HD
Sound: Dolby Sr.
Country: USA
Language: English
Rating: Pending

Extras: Behind-the-scenes featurette


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