Teasing the public with promo shots from the video of her latest single “Bad Blood,” Taylor Swift floored us with the ever increasing cast of femme fatales in the weeks prior to the video’s release. If it wasn’t old-school movie posters of bff’s Karlie Kloss (Knockout), Hayley Williams (The Crimson Curse) or Gigi Hadid (Slay-Z), it was the revelation that she had also managed to ring in Lily Aldridge (Frostbyte), Zendaya (Cut Throat), Ellie Goulding (Destructa X), Lena Dunham (Lucky Fiori), Hailee Steinfeld (The Trinity), Serayah (Dilemma), Martha Hunt (Home Slice), Cara Delevingne(Mother Chucker), Jessica Alba (Domino), Ellen Pompeo (Luna), Mariska Hargitay (Justice) and even Cindy Crawford (Headmistress). If that isn’t enough to confuse you, she also revealed that Selena Gomez would be starring as her nemesis ‘Arysn,’ and rapper Kendrick Lamar would create his own spin on the highly anticipated single as ‘Welvin Da Great.’
So, after weeks of hype and speculation, was the video for “Bad Blood” as good as the T-Swift’s PR team? Actually yes, yes it was.
Opening with an intense action shot, you are immediately taken into the world of heroes and villains. Swift instigates the classic movie pose, pausing after throwing some dude onto a desk to reapply her cherry red lipstick. It is here that we learn she is ‘Catastrophe,’ aka the leader of the baddest group of female super spies/heroes/villains/all of the above ever. Meanwhile, Gomez takes down other miscellaneous masked men in equally as cut throat ninja moves, and we hear the sounds of alarms going off.
The moment Gomez’s character turns on Swift, by kicking her out the window none the less, is metaphoric and gloriously dramatic as a depiction of the back stabbing frenemy the song talks about. As we are given a slow motion shot from the POV of Catastrophe as she falls out the building amidst breaking glass, she sees the smirk on her now enemy’s face and we finally enter into the first chords of “Bad Blood.”
This dramatic feature film vibe follows the character of Catastrophe throughout, and whether she is casually falling through her car into a super-secret facility, or being dressed for battle by The Trinity, each shot is crafted to give you a moment of awe. Broken up with shots of Welvin Da Great and various cast members, the video follows Swift’s character as she prepares to battle Arysn. Moving shots follow her crashing through walls, close ups depict the fury on her face, and panning depicts her counterparts loading weaponry, reapplying make up and walking up hallways with a fearsome stride.
When it comes to visual effects, stylized shots and costumes, “Bad Blood” has it all. Made to look more like a big budget film trailer as opposed to a film clip, the extravagance of the cast is matched by the bling and set design as we are enveloped in a world that exists somewhere between The Hunger Games and James Bond.
Introducing Lamar’s rap by cutting the screen to place his face next to Swift’s, the new addition to the track works well and gives it the grit it needs to pull off such a high intensity clip. While there is an exorbitant amount of slow motion cuts as we are introduced to each character, they work quite nicely as we see Swift interacting with each character and thus fitting in the plot line. Tying it up at the end with an apocalyptic battle scene between Catastrophe and her girls vs. Arsyn and her faceless soldiers, fire adds to the intensity of this all-out war, and sleek, black costumes match the stiletto heels of Swift and her counterparts as they stride towards their enemies.
Filled with Swift’s charming humor, the video is a very tongue in cheek take on a backstabbing girlfriend. I’m not sure what’s more notable; the fact she so vehemently portrayed this femme fatale as an evil villain or the accomplishment of uniting so many distinguished and well-known females to deliver her story of hurt and vengeance.
Different to her other film clips, yet still inherently Swifty in its girl power dynamics, “Bad Blood” gives you 4 minutes and 4 seconds of adrenaline-inducing excitement. So sit back and enjoy, because this upgrade of the single Ed Sheeran urged her to release as a debut is here; and it leaves little question about where Swift and her girlfriends stand when it comes to bitchiness and backstabbing in the music industry.