Directed by: Søren Juul Petersen
Written by: Carsten Juul Bladt, Steen Langstrup, Søren Juul Petersen
Starring: Anne Bergfeld, Karin Michelsen, Damon Younger, Mads Koudal and Kristoffer Fabricius.
Film Review by: Rachel Pullen
The Ringmaster Film Review
The dark web is only for the cool kids, guns, drugs and cat memes, it’s full of all that great stuff, but it’s widely been rumoured that people watch live torture online, that there is a ring of people who kill for a price, who revile in other’s misery.
But it has always been that…a rumour, for no one is actually going to admit to seeing it, as that would incriminate themselves, and within that lies the fear, like all good tales of horror, it’s the mystery that keeps us intrigued.
Directed by Søren Juul Petersen, The Ringmaster welcomes us into the world of two young ladies who are working at a down-and-out gas station in the middle of nowhere. No one around normally, but even more so on this night due to a sporting event that has rendered the entire population absent.
These two ladies quickly become the subject of terror from two men who mugged off the sports to play their own game, one which is at the expensive of the ladies’ safety and sanity.
It’s not long before they are captured and become the victims of an online torture game, conducted by multi-linguist ‘’the ringmaster’’ a man dressed in the attire of an ancient circus act, a man who sees murder and suffering as an act, he is a performer, for all those watching on the elusive dark web.
The film darts between the past and the present, between the pre-game torture they receive psychologically in the gas station, to the physical abuse they withstand in the circus ring, we have glimmers of hope, maybe someone will help, maybe the police will come, maybe they will get away, but just as you fall into that pattern of thinking the film throws us back into the ring.
The suspense at the gas station is unquestionably excellent, director Søren Juul Petersen plays delightfully with his audience, using the right amount of mystery and pace, to build a tension that is so easily missed in many horrors.
But sadly, for all that tension we are a little overfed in the second half; the gore is shoved down our throats in the manner we were so accustomed to in the early 2000s, with films such as Hostel and Saw, and that is something viewers may find a little odd about this film, it seems with all the directions horror has taken to move away from the aptly titled gore porn, The Ringmaster decided to jump straight back into a genre that a lot of horror fans were glad to see the back of.
Aside from the overt use of fake blood and lost limbs, The Ringmaster has a lot to offer. This film screams cult classic, the kind of movie people have to ask for to find out about, one that is talked about on horror Reddit threads as a ‘’challenging’’ watch, and despite my personal dislike of excessive torture in films, I cannot deny the fact that this film delivers a strong and compelling storyline, one that runs with a solid pace and excellent ambiguity and tension.
So for any fans of the early 2000s horror scene, The Ringmaster is a throwback to a time when more was …well more, and sometimes there is nothing wrong with that.
The Ringmaster will be in UK Cinemas from 2nd December* & DVD & Digital Download from 30th November