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New Release Review - ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE (DVD)

A newly-wed nerd attempts to rescue his bride from a menacing biker gang.



Review by Benjamin Poole (@filmclubchs)

Directed by: Jeremy Garner

Starring: Mike Bazanele, Nick Forrest, Joshua Lee Frazier, Sarah Kobel Marquette



When it is pressing the gas on this gross out ideology All Hell Breaks Loose does hit a certain stride, with gleefully juvenile humour that is at least consistently realised. With lines like ‘time to stop getting pissed on and start getting pissed off’, the film at least has a certain maniac quotability too. All Hell Breaks Loose on a VOD near you; vroooom!



Vroooom! From the deliciously archaic VHS stylings of the production logo, through to the digitally distressed ‘film stock’ look of its opening sequences, Frenetic Films’ All Hell Breaks Loose raucously races down exploitation highway towards a grubby beer bar house of grind, and very nearly makes it too. Newlyweds Nick (Nick Forrest) and Bobbie Sue (Sarah Kobel Marquette) are a picture of homely innocence, he all nerdy glasses and ginger mop, and her a simper of breathless naivety. They’re young and in love, but these sweet kids’ honeymoon is about to be rudely jack-knifed, razed by a marauding band of Harley hogging leather boys; the Satan’s Sinners, a bad company that makes Tom Savini’s goofed up ghoul bothering bunch in Dawn of the Dead look like ambassadors for the motorcycle proficiency association. The black clad hoodlums only go and kidnap Bobbie Sue, designing to use her in some sort of ritual or another in order to appease the devil - yikes! Helped along by a Tom Six lookalike cowboy (Joseph Sullivan), who the film suggests could be God Himself, zero Nick must become a hero quick if he is to, in the words of his sidekick hick sheriff, embark upon ‘a quest to defeat the Satan’s Sinners and prevent his wife from becoming the devil’s concubine’.


Like the super blown bikes the Sinners knock about on, All Hell Breaks Loose is noisy, rude and, unless you’re committed to the ride, a bit annoying. There’s a clear fealty to the modern ‘neo-grindhouse’ aesthetic here, with cartoony characters, nihilistic violence played for laffs and garishly lit sequences, affectations that would purport to be referencing '70s drive in features and the micro budget mien of exploitation quickies. However, these sort of films have inevitably transitioned to the stage where their style and plot are not carefully constructing a homage to obscure cult favourites, but instead superficially mimicking the look and feel of films which originally made a business of this sort of knowing appropriation - a Xerox of a pastiche.


And so here we have From Dusk Till Dawn’s Texan inflected shoot out scenarios, except with demonic Hell’s Angels instead of gnarly vampires, and would-be oddball violence in the Machete mode. Within this aloof approach, no one in All Hell Breaks Loose is a character, from the ‘high schoolers’ who meet their sticky end order to establish the Sinner’s meanness in the opening sequence, to milquetoast Nick, who repeatedly gets shot dead and subsequently resurrected by Tom Six (the narrative satisfaction is akin to watching someone not very good at video games win by using cheat codes); these ciphers merely exist to bridge us from one bad taste scenario to the next, and, with rape jokes aplenty and a scene where someone does a wee on a headless corpse, there are plenty of those. Subtle All Hell Breaks Loose ain’t.


When it is pressing the gas on this gross out ideology All Hell Breaks Loose does hit a certain stride, with gleefully juvenile humour that is at least consistently realised. After marrying our hapless couple, the priest takes a swig from a hipflask, picks up the bride’s discarded veil and stuff it down his trousers, bemoaning that ‘another fine piece of ass is off market’. If you’re the sort of person who finds this sort of thing funny (are you?), then you’ll have a good crack with All Hell Breaks Loose. The motley gang themselves are a pretty convincing bunch, with their tattooed skin and road worn features a rare and striking concession to authenticity, and, with lines like ‘time to stop getting pissed on and start getting pissed off’, the film at least has a certain maniac quotability too. All Hell Breaks Loose on a VOD near you; vroooom!
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