Bloody Mallory (2002)

A comic bookish horror picture with some wild ideas, but perhaps too many derivative notions to establish its own identity. Mallory (Olivia Bonamy), a young bride who had to murder her demon husband in self-defence (and regularly consults with him in limbo), reinvents herself as a bare-midriffed, red-headed warrior babe who roams France in a pink hearse with a gang of anti-paranormal commandos, taking on sundry threatening ghouls, demons and vampires. When the newly-elected Pope Hieronymous (Laurent Spielvogel) is kidnapped in Paris and whisked away to a phantom village that has been taken over by mosters and psychos, Mallory and her sidekicks – a strutting drag queen (Jeffrey Ribier) with guns in her platform shoes and a body-hopping mute telepath – track down the pontiff, though a not-unpredictable reveal is that the Pope is actually the demon Abaddon, who has a scheme to wipe human life off the face of the Earth and bring back the fallen angels. The film has a video game-like structure, with perils and fights in subterranean magic corridors, and moves fast enough not to be boring. Mallory's complex relationship with her dead husband provides some emotional core, there are amusing anti-clerical jibes and Valentina Vargas is fun as an aristocratic French vampire who seems set up as Mallory's continuing nemesis, showing up during the end credits in an in-joke that hooks into the continuity of the Ring films. Directed by Julian Magnat.
KIM NEWMAN

First published in this form here.


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