Plot: After Josephine Stewart (Eleanor James), she went into a violent rage and not only murdered her unfaithful love, but lopped off her own finger with the ring still attached to sever the bond. This turn of events would turn into an urban legend of sorts, as tales of Josephine’s wrath would be told for decades and rumors swirled that her ring was still out in the world, carrying a vicious curse. The ring was said to doom anyone who would slide it onto their finger and while a completed set of wedding vows could shatter the curse, no one had survived long enough to do so. When Lee (James Fisher) wants to propose, but doesn’t have the cash for an expensive new diamond, he winds up with the cursed ring and of course, asks for his beloved’s hand. He and his bride-to-be Nicole (Rebecca Jaquest) assume they’re about to start a wonderful new life, but can they avoid Josephine’s curse?
Entertainment Value: This is a low budget British horror movie that makes up for limited resources with enthusiasm and an offbeat sense of humor, as well as some just plain odd sequences. The narrative feels familiar, with a cursed object set to doom young love, but Hellbride blends in enough new elements to help in that regard, so it doesn’t feel too “been there, done that.” I’ve seen a good deal of movies that try to blend horror with comedy and while that formula can produce some great movies, it is a tough mix to get right. Hellbride leans more toward humor than horror, but also keeps the curse element prominent, even when the story drifts off course a little. I was baffled by the strange stand-up performance that seems to come out of nowhere, but it was hilarious, even if it for unintended reasons. Not all the humor in Hellbride works, but some it lands and some of the bad jokes even elicit a chuckle or groan, so there’s that. The cast is fine, if not overly memorable, though Rebecca Jaquest has a certain screen presence and proves to be the best performer of the lot. I had fun with Hellbride and while it is inconsistent, I think the filmmakers and cast have done well with the limited budget, so fans of indie horror should check it out.
A brief shot teases some blurry breasts, but otherwise no nakedness here. There’s some mild sex talk here and there, however. On the bloodshed side, we have some fun, but infrequent low rent violence on showcase. This is mostly related to gunshot wounds, with some splashy bullet hits included and one messy head shot to soak in, but these scenes aren’t overly graphic or realistic. Some other more mild violence is also here, including the inevitable showdown between brides. I wish the finale had been more insane and kinetic, but it wasn’t bad. So a little crimson is splashed around, just don’t expect a bloodbath. The dialogue has some humorous lines and some oddball moments, which I always welcome. The bizarre stand-up performance is a highlight, while another scene has a guy going on about his ex’s nipples in great detail, right in front of her new boyfriend. So there’s some fun to be had with the lines here, sometimes intentional, sometimes otherwise. The craziness scale is juiced a little by the stand-up scene and general wackiness that unfolds, but Hellbride doesn’t really go for broke, so the score is on the lower end.
Overall Insanity: 2/10