Movies

BAD THINGS (2023) Reviews of female-focused horror

BAD THINGS (2023) Reviews of female-focused horror

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Bad Things is a 2023 American horror film about a group of female friends who go to an abandoned hotel for a weekend getaway but soon discover that women do bad things here. The movie references Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980) more than once.

Written and directed by Stewart Thorndike (Lyle, 2014). Produced by Lizzie Shapiro and Lexi Tannenholtz. Executive produced by George Loucas, Matthew Dean Russell and Amy Williams.

The Space Program-PGC Pictures-Baked Studios co-production stars Gayle Rankin, Hari Nef, Annabelle Dexter-Jones, Rad Pereira, Jared Abrahamson, Molly Ringwald, Ariella Josephine, Patrick Klein, Dana Slosar and Holland Smith.

Plot:
When a group of female friends escape the city to spend the weekend in an abandoned hotel, a pervading eerie energy begins to illuminate the cracks in their little family unit. Ruthie Nodd (Gayle Rankin) inherits the hotel from her grandmother and with bad childhood memories threatening to burst to the surface, Ruthie wants to sell the hotel and never return. However, her partner Cal (Hari Nef) drags her there in the hopes of returning it to its former glory.

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The pair are joined by their amiable friend Maddie (Rad Pereira) and mysterious grifter Fran (Annabelle Dexter-Jones), whose unhinged seduction threatens to drive a wedge between the couple. As the friends dance, cook, flirt, and fight up and down the halls of the hotel, they begin to find themselves indelibly entwined in the hotel’s seductive embrace and start doing bad things to each other…

Reviews:

” …the film teases out things like motherhood and mentorship in curious, intriguing ways. Even though largely invisible in the film itself, Thorndike grants Ruthie’s mom a privileged place in the story, reminding us that the maternal bond doesn’t necessarily need an overpowering physical presence to make itself felt. A wild film on its own merits and a fascinating one when considered alongside Lyle, Bad Things guarantees that Thorndike’s unfolding ‘motherhood’ trilogy has been well worth the wait.” Alliance of Women Film Journalists

Bad Things is simply one of those rare horror movies that is going to divide audiences tenfold, but the audience that connects to this film, gets sucked into the characters and is then left lingering with the state of nightmare that these characters experienced, will propel Bad Things to the status of a modern horror classic that will go down as a masterclass in storytelling and acting.” Elements of Madness

“Stewart Thorndike has created a horror that gives you what you want and what you didn’t know you wanted. It uses classic themes and styles to explore a more modern story, one that will likely only improve with every watch. It is weird, wonderful and unexpected, it never entirely gives the game away and will keep you guessing even after the credits have rolled.” 8 out of 10, Film Carnage

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“Liminal spaces – hallways and such – form most of Bad Things’ visual setting; the fairly mundane and familiar vista is somehow made uncomfortable to watch. The mood feeds into the piece beautifully, orchestrating an ideal platform for the second half of Bad Things to play out. Paranoia reaches fever pitch and as the group fractures, there is a palpable frisson of tension.” 3 out of 5, The Hollywood News

“In yet another twist on The Shining, milk pours down the walls of a room instead of blood. It’s an eye-rolling moment, a jarring tonal misstep. Like the wit of the opening scene, it resembles nothing else in the film. To stand out, Bad Things required a deft balance between horror and relationship drama. Erratic in its use of each, it remains a thin gloss on both genres.” The Hollywood Reporter

Bad Things blunders when it comes to the action sequences, but the campiness is part of the charm. The film constantly questions what is real or not, who is alive and who is dead, and what are ghosts or Ruthie’s own memories […] It’s only when Ruthie is wielding a chainsaw in a feral state of desperation that Bad Things tips too far tonally, but Bad Things is still a very good time.” Rating: B+ IndieWire

“It all builds to a tragically satisfying finale, flexing its genre influences. Though I liked the character work here, there are a few questionable choices made in the third act. Then again, these are made with enough confidence that I didn’t feel yanked out of the immersive atmosphere created by the cast and crew. And at just 83 minutes, it isn’t asking too much of the viewer…” Nightmarish Conjurings

“Certainly there is a lot of denial, delusion and derealisation unfolding here – and when the truth can no longer stay hidden away, at last, bad things happen (again), with the chainsaw, too, making an inevitable, altogether less salubrious return. This may be the story of a lesbian love quadrangle gone terribly, tragically wrong, but here love was withdrawn long ago, leaving everyone to take their assigned rooms and to play their prescribed parts in the unraveling psychodrama.” Projected Figures

” …Stewart’s direction never has enough personality, failing to find memorable imagery or even believable characters to hold onto. We need to get sucked into the world of a film like Bad Things, trapped in a single location like we are in You’ll Never Find Me, but this tale never achieves that level of atmosphere. It’s flat in both performance and composition.” RogerEbert.com

Release date:
Bad Things premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on June 9, 2023, and will be available on Shudder and AMC+ on August 18, 2023.

Trailer:

Technical specs:
1 hour 23 minutes

THE SHINING (1980) Reviews of Stanley Kubrick’s iconic horror take on Stephen King

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