Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Bastard (2015) - Review - @BrandonCSites

Bastard (2015) **
D: Powell Robinson, Patrick Robert Young
C: Rebekah Kennedy, Ellis Greer, Dan Creed, Will Tranfo, Tonya Kay, Burt Culver, Ryan Shoos

Plot Synopsis: Five strangers - newlywed serial killers, a suicidal cop, and two runaways - become suspect and victim when a masked murderer makes its presence known in an isolated mountain town.

Review: To try and describe the plot of Bastard is rather pointless, because it's a mishmash of various stories crammed into one. You have: 

-A story about a psychopathic couple traveling cross country, killing people along the way.
-The psychopathic couple becoming more in touch with their human emotions, because of a troubled couple they pick up in their travels.
-A slasher story.
-A story involving a person who wants to take their own life, but can't muster up the courage to do so.
-A story involving cannibalism.
-A story involving domestic violence and an I Spit on your Grave revenge scenario that plays out as a result.
-A story about a young girl coming into her own.
-Heck, there's even a story involving the domestic drama between a gay couple!

On top of that, there's several gratuitous embellishments such as:

-A scene in which a person dons drag before attempting to kill themselves.
-A scene in which a young couple is engaged in sexual activity. However, things turn kinky when the girl places a gag in her boyfriend's mouth and lets him know that she wants to penetrate him with a dildo. 
-A scene in which a masked serial killer is slapped across the face with a dildo while opera type music plays.
-A scene in which a woman sits completely topless in front of another woman telling her to look at her breasts.
-Prolonged scenes of torture that come out of left field.
-A sub-plot involving elements of incest.
-A tacked on ending that unnecessarily leaves the door open for a sequel.

It's as though the people behind this took out the exploitation playbook and threw everything into the mix and hoped that somehow it would sort itself out. It doesn't. As a writer, Patrick Robert Young has failed in telling a cohesive, thought out story. Since Bastard fails in terms of storytelling, it would be easy to outright dismiss it, but I can't. 

As director, Young (co-directing with Powell Robinson) fares better. The acting is solid right down the line with Dan Creed being a particular standout. The special effects are effectively utilized. The scenes of horror are well staged & presented. However, what stands out most is the emotions that Bastard evokes - fear, panic, confusion, shock, humor and even tenderness.

When it comes to horror movie watching, these are the types of aspiring directors that I keep an eye out for. They're the type that know how to make you feel something whether or not you necessarily want to experience that. On a budget of less then $100K, they've shown their ability to direct performances, to execute scenes of horror and to connect with viewers on an emotional level. Hopefully, next time around, they'll take those technical skills and apply it to better material. [R] 82 minutes.

Footnote: I received a message from director Powell Robinson stating that for optimum viewing experience that Bastard should be watched either on Amazon or Video On Demand. He stated that the DVD and ITunes version are having visual issues at the moment.

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