Seemingly all of Denmark is balls deep into the finals of the nondescript European Championships.
Speaking of “games”, our heroine, the studious Agnes (Anne Bergfeld), is hoping for an easy night at the gas station in which she works… since everyone should be home watching feet colliding with balls, as previously established, but wouldn’t you just know it, things become a bit more hectic for our heroine and her co-worker, Belinda (Karin Michelsen) as they soon find themselves besieged by intense folks coming through those damned doors all night long… and as is so often the case, Agnes soon finds herself at the (not so) tender mercies of a sadistic, greasepaint adorned Ringmaster (Damon Younger) and his torture-porn emporium!
Let’s look at the positive aspects of this film before I slam you with what’s wrong here…
In the hands of co-writer/director Søren Juul Petersen and his co-writer Carsten Juul Bladt (working from a novel by Steen Langstrup, The Ringmaster has true elements of slow burn suspense (which are fucked six ways to Sunday by a narrative misstep described below), and some stylish visual flourishes… all things that point to an engaging film!
Speaking of which, the cast here is pretty great as well, with Bergfeld making for a sympathetic victim, and you can just tell Younger is having the time of his fucking life as the violence-prone psycho that’s responsible for her plight (the Ringmaster’s visual design is memorable as well as he looks like a well-dressed Victorian Age harlequin). Also of note is Michelsen as the aimless Belinda; a woman that should have left her convenience store position years ago, but lacks the ambition to put that plan forward… a great contrast to her compatriot who is young and ready to start a new life in Germany after one final shift.
Additionally the gore here is practical, and absolutely top-notch and does an excellent job of selling the extreme abuse hurled upon anyone unlucky enough to find themselves in the Ringmaster’s dark web horror show.
Now to the one major flaw this film possesses; namely the fact that we see Agnes in The Ringmaster’s clutches in flash-forward sequences peppered throughout the gas station-set, tension packed set-up… we know there’s a Ringmaster, we know what he’s up to, and we know Agnes is not going to be having a good time, which would have served the story better by not being telegraphed way before the fact… we should have discovered that shit at the same time Agnes does!
So that’s The Ringmaster in a nutshell… now how about those special features contained on this Blu-ray release from MVD Entertainment? If you wanted anything other than the film’s trailer (and a few others) you’ll find yourself as tortured as good ol’ Agnes!
Minus that too-early tipping of the hand, The Ringmaster is a satisfying and well-made red room-style thriller that will definitely appeal to those that like their fright flicks sadistic and nasty!
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