Ghost Killers vs Bloody Mary Review

Ghost Killers Vs Bloody Mary is a very stupid movie, and I don’t mean that as a judgement of its quality. It is stupid in the way that Dumb & Dumber is stupid: it’s about stupid characters doing stupid things, and it generates some stupid fun along the way.

The heroes of Ghost Killers Vs Bloody Mary are no Ghostbusters. They’re the Ghoulbusters, a knowingly IP-breaching squad of paranormal investigators, known mostly for their YouTube channel of middling repute. Their nominal leader is played by one of Brazil’s top comedians, which should be a lesson not to write off performers English-speaking audiences haven’t heard of. Behind on rent and low on morale, the Ghoulbusters’ days are spent fending off angry commenters and thinking up new ways of faking ghosts. 

Of course, there’d be no movie if the Ghoulbusters were mere frauds. The story has the crew summoned to a local high school in order to pacify students who believe the campus is haunted by urban legend par excellence Bloody Mary. Taking after The Frighteners (not the only Peter Jackson film to which this is comparable), what begins as an attempted hoodwinking soon turns into an actual battle for survival, as Bloody Mary proves very real indeed.

What plot there is in Ghost Killers Vs Bloody Mary is mostly an excuse to string together wild horror setpieces, and these are some WILD horror setpieces. Director Fabrício Bittar has employed an “anything goes” mentality to the rules of ghosts, meaning that Bloody Mary can possess just about anyone or anything, and do whatever she wants with them. While that leads to a few confusing moments, it mostly generates entertaining madness. While the film doesn’t quite reach the sublime pacing of something like Evil Dead 2, that’s clearly the target here.

Plenty of bodily fluids are spilled throughout Ghost Killers Vs Bloody Mary, but thankfully, the action is inventive enough to prevent it from simply coasting on volume of Karo syrup. When a movie ghost possesses a specimen fetus in a jar, of course that fetus is going to leap up and attack somebody. Of course it’s going to use its umbilical cord as a garotte. But it’s the extra mile taken by this movie that pushes it into jaw-dropping territory. I won’t spoil it, but I can pretty much guarantee you’ve never seen a fetus do what this one does (as bizarre as that sentence sounds). If you have, you’ve lived a more eventful life than I.

The same cannot be said for the Ghoulbusters’ characters and relationships. A character drama this ain’t, but the lead actors do solid work to establish their roles within the group. Problem is, none of the characters are that unique or funny by themselves. There’s the fame-obsessed leader, the pragmatic tech guy, the put-upon dogsbody, and the token woman in the group, who sadly ends up being the token woman in the movie, too. A joke about gender identity and political correctness falls flat on its face, and the only other woman (aside from Bloody Mary, of course) is a middle-aged teacher who is made the butt of jokes throughout the film. Finally, the Ghoulbusters’ most hated YouTube commenter enters the story mid-film, and despite that being a clever idea, the resultant performance is over the top and unbelievable.

What you really won’t find in Ghost Killers Vs Bloody Mary is actual horror. An overabundance of jump scares and “scary face” After Effects work serves to undercut the more gleeful grue on display; nobody’s expecting this to be scary, so every attempt to make it so fails. What’s more, a number of jokes scattered throughout the film are obvious, surface-level jabs at horror movie tropes, as overdone by now as the tropes they’re lampooning.

Another bum note in this ridiculous production is an insistence on humanising Bloody Mary. She’s given a whole backstory that, while ultimately skewing towards “yeah, she’s evil,” slows down the pace of a film that’s otherwise a breakneck series of gruesome punchlines. Her bullied-schoolkid background isn’t bad, per se, but it feels like a token nod to serious characterisation from filmmakers mostly uninterested in exploring such things. In another version of this movie, it’d be the heart of the film; here, it’s an inflamed appendix. 

Ghost Killers Vs Bloody Mary is not a huge production, but it uses what resources it has quite effectively. The whole movie is essentially hemmed inside a single school building, but the art department gets a fair amount of mileage out of dressing each room for a different subject – and using the resultant props appropriately. Likewise, there clearly wasn’t much budget for visual effects, but they’re used sparingly; horror fans will delight at the degree to which practical effects are favoured here. There’s lots of blood, lots of fake body parts, and lots of practical makeup.

Ultimately, this is – again – a really stupid movie, and it’s important to remember that. A goofy spirit runs through the whole thing, with countless running gags weaving in and out, all paying off at one point or another. Not everything works. But the elements that do – namely the more elaborate setpieces – work super well, and the cast manages to keep their heads above the script’s problems with sheer charisma. Come for the shamed-YouTuber premise; stay for the well-put-together setpieces; lower your standards when it comes to nearly everything else. And leave before the mid-credits twist. It’s terrible.

/Film Rating: 6 out of 10

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About the Author

Andrew is a creative professional from New Zealand, living in Montreal, with an American accent, which always confuses people.