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Billy's Balloon (1998)

  Directed by: Don Hertzfeldt
Written by: Don Hertzfeldt
Links: Billy's Balloon on the IMDb, Official site, Buy Merchandise, Buy on DVD
Genre: Cartoon/Animation

This movie gets: 6.00 (1 rating) Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

Billy's Balloon (1998) is also mentioned in em_fiction's review of Genre (1996).

"Leaves you more disturbed than amused" - a review by em_fiction

I've reviewed not just one but two Don Hertzfeldt shorts, and now it's time for the big third. Billy's Balloon is another (almost) stick-figure cartoon about a world where balloons have minds of their own. One particular balloon wraps itself around a little boy's wrist and takes him high up into the sky... and bizarre things kind of start happening.

Okay, after watching Rejected (2000) and Ah, L'Amour (1995), I was expecting just as good a laugh from Billy's Balloon, but instead I was left rather freaked out and in a way, kind of numb. Maybe it was just me, but I seriously found this a bit too eery. I mean, there is a line that exists between violence that's humourous and violence that simply goes too far, and it's a very fine one indeed. This film was damn near close to borderline.

Something that made this film really dark was the soundtrack, or the lack of it I should say. The music in Ah, L'Amour surprisingly boosted the energy and made it twice as easy to enjoy. In Billy's Balloon, however, there's no music at all. Surprisingly enough, rather than making the film bland as a result, it just made it more creepy.

Look, maybe the film isn't as bad as what I've accused it of being. It's twisted, but maybe not that fucked up. Maybe I was a step ahead of myself with such a traumatic reaction. Either that or, like mino in his Love Actually (2003) review, I'm turning into the Cap Alert guy (which isn't a great thing at my young age). Perhaps I should think about Hertzfeldt's intention behind the film. I mean, he's clearly proven himself to be quite talented as a comedic animator, so maybe this was an experiment to see how well he'd be able to induce fear in his stick-figure animations (while still perhaps arousing a bit of a leftover giggle). For his sake I'll say that that was his intention, so in a way he actually did a pretty good job with this film.

Don't worry, I don't know what I'm talking about either.

em_fiction gives this movie 6 out of 10.
Review created on Fri 27 Feb 2004

Movie review statistics

Number of reviews: 1
Rating Percentage

Reader comments


    I'we never seen such a funny film. My stomach muscles was in pain five minutes after the film ended - lucky it wasn't longer... I don't think any borders are crossed - save those that normally bound peoples imagination. After the first 20 seconds you are extreemely expectant and hold your breath. The makers know this and know excactly how to release the tension!
    If you know where to get a copy (not VHS) please let me know...

    - Peder

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from Peder Moller on Tue 16 Mar 2004 02:29 #

  2. Creepy yet hilarious ;)

    You can get it on DVD here:

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from jolly on Fri 26 Mar 2004 20:10 #

  3. It roxxorz

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from Aaron on Sat 27 Mar 2004 09:00 #

  4. i've seen this a few times at the spike and mike festival... and it's painfully funny *every* time. my fiance and myself were both holding our cheeks laughing so much. watch it if you ever get a chance! no borders were crossed... it's just humor that noone wants to do because they're afraid to offend anyone.

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from beth on Mon 29 Mar 2004 09:36 #

  5. FUNNY AND Stupid

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from me on Mon 05 Apr 2004 12:12 #

  6. I don't know it creepy yes, but very humourous. Or maybe the fact that a friend of mine went on a 24 hour ballon killing mission on the charter bus made it more funny.

    Rating given: 6

    A comment from Name on Mon 01 Nov 2004 16:16 #

  7. kicked ass

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from matt on Mon 11 Jul 2005 14:05 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 9.43 (7 ratings)

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