Review: Black Blooded Brides of Satan

Rape, snuff movies, black metal, devil worshippers, drug abuse and corrupted priests are some of the ingredients in Finland’s first foray into Satan horror. Black Blooded Brides of Satan is part social commentary, part splatterfest, and part exploitation.

The story in Black Blooded Brides of Satan is a bit episodic and fragmented, but deals with alienated young people who seek comfort in drugs and religions that are no good to your physical or mental health. A young girl is recruited into a cult that worships Satan, after having had a quarrel with her parents and being kicked out by her boyfriend. She believes the cult will offer her strenght and sympathy; in stead, she can’t handle the pressure, and tries to get out. At the same time, several naked, raped and dead girls are found around Helsinki.

Finland has a reputation in some countries for making dark and bleak movies and TV drama. Every Norwegian who grew up in the 70s and 80s remember the depressing “Finnish TV theatre”, which later has been explained by sociologists as being partially true. The Finns are Nordic champions in doom and gloom, so when this movie comes along with no bright moments whatsoever, it does not surprise me. The film shows broken down relationships, astray youth, negative subcultures and nonfunctioning institutions. Even the presumed good guy is a groping bastard. I would not go as far as saying the movie is typical Finnish, but no other Nordic country would be a more natural cradle for this movie. The movie is filled with other Finnish clichés too. Vodka, winter and macho attitudes (that includes many of the women) are things you expect in a Finnish movie, and they are present at full effect.

Another important aspect of this movie is the fact that it is an independent, super-low-budget home-made movie. I bet none of the actors or crew members are professionals. Very little money and technology have been used to make the movie look good, and both artistic and technical efforts are of amateur-level quality. This means there are many things one cannot expect from the movie, and you cannot critizie it for everything it lacks. Slow pacing, too much dialogue, muddy visuals and all that; these are things you have to live with. What remains is the energy and interest everyone has put into the movie. It’s a very brutal movie, and the intentions have been the best. At one point I thought they would go over the top, and obviously they went as far as they could in order to keep the movie legal, so there is nothing wrong with the visions and ideas of the director, writer and producer. In fact, the end of the movie puts a new spin on the rape-revenge concept, a spin only gloomy Finns could have thought of.

Black Blooded Brides of Satan is definitively not for everyone. Even when you are used to low-budget amateur movies, the graphic violence, brutal rapes and depressing ending put the movie in a disturbing category which cannot be compared to 99% of other entries in the splatter-exploitation genre. I’ve seen nazisploitation movies that are more cheerful than this one. The movie balances on a very fine line between violent and sick entertainment, which I think was the ultimate goal of the makers. I just hope the movie does not reflect the mental state of youth in Finland today. That would be really depressing.

Rated 7 of 10 (more gore in the middle part would have made it an 8).

Director: Sami Haavisto
Finland, 2009