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Balloon Animal

USA 2022
produced by
Monica O'Hara, Ruvi Leider, Katherine Waddell, Lillian Todd (executive), Gene Hasek (executive), Matthew Helderman (executive), Luke Taylor (executive), Nikki Stier Justice (executive), Greg Gertmenian (executive) for First Bloom Films
directed by Em Johnson
starring Katherine Waddell, Ilia Volok, Erin Rae Li, Danielle Baez, Michael David Wilson, Karla Alfonzo-Smith, Lawrence Calhoun jr, Beccy Quinn, Meggan Taylor, Matt Pasini, Byron Brown jr, Verone Massie, Caitlin Oden, Samantha Frontera, Sean Gunnell, Bentzion Shemtoy
written by Em Johnson, music by Alexa L. Borden, Connor Cook

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

To buy, click on link(s) below and help keep this site afloat

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Poppy (Katherine Waddell) has literally been born into circus life, with her father Dark (Ilia Volok) running one that has been family business for generations, and she has been doing balloon animals since age 7 - and 17 years later still does while also helping out her dad's magic shows, the highlight of every evening, even if the performance has gained rust over the years. Sure, Poppy and her performer friends Lala (Danielle Baez) and Sadie (Erin Rae Li) go out for drinks every once in a while, but mostly they're pretty much used to nothing but life on the road. But with the circus as such on the decline for years now, Poppy gets more and more disillusioned with her life, and her dad offering her an assistant manager job in the company doesn't approve things, either. And then she meets Drew (Michael David Wilson), a local from the last town for the season they play in, and he's just nice to her, and even if his life is anything but super-interesting, she becomes infatuated with him and ponders an existence away from the circus - but how is her dad, how is anyone she has known for her entire life, take that she might leave the business for good?


Now I think that it's a safe bet that most of those who read this review (or watch the movie itself for that matter) have not grown at the circus and know pretty little about circus life - and yet, this film makes the whole lifestyle perfectly relatable thanks to some really nice character work - also helped by a very solid ensemble cast of course - and a directorial effort that keeps things fittingly down-to-earth despite the flashy surroundings. And on that ground, a rather well-written script is sure to flourish into a pretty engaging film for sure that will stay with you for days after watching.


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review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
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and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD