The Bloody Mary Show: Season 1 Review
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A working class dead girl and her alcoholic boyfriend turn out to be the perfect combination for writer Darren Chadwick-Hussein and director Victoria Howell’s British take on an American urban legend.

It seems the urban legend has been misunderstood, and Bloody Mary (Hollie Taylor) is really a kind of social worker. Light the candles, look in the mirror, and say her name three times, and she’ll appear to scare you straight.

Of course, she’s not so good about running her own life. Her boyfriend (Craig Daniel Adams) is not only an alcoholic, but he’s also alive, a Being. And there’s a law of some sort against those of the Realm (the dead) having relations with Beings.

Almost all of the dead have jobs. Viscera (Elizabeth Webster) is an Old Hag—a kind of EMT. When you get sleep paralysis, she scares you so you can breathe again and don’t die. Reaper Abdabs (Thomas Coombes) is a cop who collects the souls of the newly dead and acts as the moral center of his friends. Only Malevolent (played by Jenny Fitzpatrick and Tanya Duff) has no job; she’s a Banshee whose mother is rich.

  
 
There’s great interaction between the characters as they meet at their local pub to buy red wine from barkeep Herzog (David McGillivray). With the contradictions in each character, they play one side against the other, in themselves and with others. There’s almost no line or action that doesn’t have significance elsewhere in the story. You’ll never know which way things are going to go—and, eventually, you’ll just accept every single twist and surprise.

The theme of the series is relationships: who can be with whom, how you handle challenges of being with them, and who is worthy of whom. And the show is good at establishing who’s on what side and reversing that. Even characters with little screen time are given reasonable depth.

Take the model-turned-actress-turned-succubus, Samantha (Erica Emm). She pushes into the working class pub with her boyfriend and cronies. Thanks to a bad hairstyle and make-up that works against Emm’s natural skin tones, she looks unappealing. Add to that a high-pitched nasal twang and a voice that’s always too loud, and you’ll hate her before she does something obnoxious (which doesn’t take long).

This is a show with a sense of fun but with a sharp, serrated edge—which is to say that it’s a story with teeth, carried through with all the tools needed in a series. The effects are fairly basic, due to the low budget, but they’re used effectively to keep with the story’s tone. Overall, it’s tightly plotted and nicely cast. There are shows with much larger budgets and much smaller imaginations.


Ed. Note: The Bloody Mary Show (and bonus pieces) can be found on BloodyMaryShow.co.uk. It’s also available on YouTube, where it’s called Halloween the Bloody Mary Show.

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