The Movie Waffler New Release Review [Cinema] - DEADLY CUTS | The Movie Waffler

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New Release Review [Cinema] - DEADLY CUTS

deadly cuts review
The staff of a hair salon turn to vigilantism to protect their business.

Review by Benjamin Poole

Directed by: Rachel Carey

Starring: Angeline Ball, Ericka Roe, Lauren Larkin, Shauna Higgins, Aidan McArdle, Victoria Smurfit

deadly cuts poster

A hairdressing salon where the employees get into a scuffle with a difficult visitor and end up killing him to death with a cutting scissors? Heck, in this lockdown situation I’ll take any barbers I can get, amirite?! Ah lol. Obligatory office wag jokes out of the way, the absolute shaggy dog joy of writer/director Rachel Carey’s black comedy Deadly Cuts (the title punning upon the colloquial Irish for ‘awesome’, of course) may well prove a (hair) tonic for those of us in need of a further spritz of cheer in these trying times.

Angeline Ball (portrait in attic, etc) plays Michelle, the manager of the eponymous salon which is situated within a run-down residential Dublin estate, Piglinstown. A grimly familiar urban montage of lone supermarket trolleys, along with burned out cars and tied trainers hanging from overhead phone lines tells anyone who has lived in working-class Ireland or Britain all they need to know about the social context of Deadly Cuts, where Michelle presides over her comic crew of four hairdressers, who are all in some way affected by the reign of social terror which a local gang of gobshites enacts upon the community.

deadly cuts review

This cultural specificity of Deadly Cuts’ milieu is sustained by the indelicate and dirty humour of the film’s opening scenes, which (let’s face it, the many many) fans of Mrs Brown’s Boys will lap up. Being a ponced-up sophisticate, these scenes were slightly too broad for my tastes, but when Deadly Cuts’ narrative eventually beds in, and the crude, quick humour is matched with a pacey ‘ordinary-people-in-over-their-head’ plot, the film coalesces into something fantastic.


Chief head-the-ball gang leader Deano (Ian Lloyd Anderson) comes to the salon after hours to give the girls some shit after they stand up to him in the local. For his trouble, Deano (those names!) gets a wash and blow dry to the face, and a fatal snip between the shoulder blades. In a nastily funny sequence, the cutting crew must then get rid of the body, where they discover Deano’s phone, which they use to call the gang off (another reason to cherish Deadly Cuts is the straightforward, unglamorous representation of the local ne’er do wells as pathetic and thick bullies).

deadly cuts review

Based around this situation, the comedy is dark as a botched dye job, and as amusing too: disposing of the body under cover of night, a character wearing those massive hair rollers in her barnet says that no one will recognise them, to which Michelle, taking in the head on her companion, deadpans, "yeah, no one is going to connect us with hairdressers..." - hahahaha!


Happy days then, except for the inconvenience that some sleazy nob wants to demolish the estate’s commercial centre in the name of Bad Capitalism. Our intrepid bunch have to somehow maintain the cover up of Deano’s death, while this scut attempts to undermine their business, too. Michelle needs something to put Deadly Cuts back on the map: cue the annual ‘Ahh Hair’ hairdressing competition...

deadly cuts review

Eventually, the film builds towards a sort of Nativity style burlesque in the final act, replete with a local youth club bunch of teen dancers and lots of daft fun (the insanely camp scenes also feature Victoria Smurfit sat upon an oiled up hunk - somebody sound the gay klaxon up in here!).

Like everyone else, I fucking love going to get my hair cut - enjoy being part of a close-knit gang for an hour or so, sharing local gossip (hairdressers always know what’s up), just generally having a laugh. In the absence of this social opportunity, Deadly Cuts is a fair substitute. A silly, funny and irresistibly warm-hearted film. Never mind a bit off the back and sides, I’m wondering how I will ever remove the wall to wall grin which Deadly Cuts has styled me with.

Deadly Cuts is in UK/ROI cinemas from October 8th.

2021 movie reviews