Bastard (2015)


bastardDirected by Powell Robinson and Patrick Robert Young

Starring Tonya Kay, Rebekah Kennedy, Ellis Greer, and Dan Creed

When the worst thing you have to say about a movie is that they killed the characters before you were ready for them to be dead, you know you’ve got a winner. I wanted every character to make it to the finish line, wondering how they would grow from their harrowing experience. Alas, this is a slasher film, and it cannot be so. I accept this, begrudgingly, and raise a glass to those not so lucky victims.

Bastard tells the tale of five strangers brought together by chance to face a killer. Sound like a standard slasher plot? Oh, well then you should know that two of those unfortunate victims are honeymooning serial killers, who have taken their killing spree on the road to play a concert in this little mountain town. Two of the other potential slaughter fodder are a pair of runaway lovers, with a rather disturbing secret. The fifth is a suicidal depressed gay cop with a thing for women’s clothing and drunkenly shitting in the yard. That’s just the kind of movie Bastard is.

Of all of the movies from this year’s 8 Films to Die For, Bastard is simultaneously my favorite film and the one I had the least expectations for. Given only brief descriptions for each film, Bastard seemed like a typical low budget slasher. I love slashers, but positively detest shitty slashers. Just violence does nothing for me, and poorly done just violence is uncomfortable. Popping in the film, I sat my head on my hands and let out a hearty sigh. It took me five minutes to sit back in my chair with a grin on my face and freshly cracked beer in my hand.

Bastard is entertaining as fuck from start to finish. It begins with good suspense, and progressively cranks it up to 10. Nothing, and no one, is sacred in this film. While it’s pretty easy to predict who the survivor will be (there’s always just one), the rest of the characters were so well designed and fleshed out that I really felt like each of their deaths was a blow to me personally. And yet, if none of them died, I’d be crushed.

On top of that, the kills were all beautifully gory. This movie is the best kind of splatterfest: bloody, creative, and hilarious. While it does have the tendency to go over the top, it fits the absurd nature of the film perfectly. I mean, of course cutting someone’s head off would do the job, but wouldn’t you rather slice open their back, pull out their spine, and rip it in half? If you answered yes, then you’re the kind of bastard that Bastard is looking for.

There’s not a whole lot I can say bad about the film. The character arcs are all well done, but there’s just too many to fully develop them all. It’s a pretty tight package, so several characters will die before they got to resolve their issues. It also suffers a bit from inconsistent pacing, as everything ramps into the climax too quickly. I don’t really like long films, but this movie could have easily used 20 more minutes of build to more adequately prepare us for the final confrontation. The epilogue is also a bit silly, and would have seemed weak in any other film, but gets a pass for fitting tone.

It’s got sarcastic serial killer lovers, Jason Bateman style pretty boy murderers, cannibal children, meat cleavers to faces, and a giant purple dildo used as a bludgeon. The twist is actually shocking and gruesome. The movie has just enough cliché to make how subversive it is stick out. It is fresh, new, and fun. I wish more films took leaps like this, taking real risks with genuinely interesting characters. For too long, it’s been stock villain, stock characters, and a “turns out she was crazy all along” sprinkled in at the end to try to make it all seem worthwhile. Bastard is worthwhile because it kicks ass. Going off the beaten path is just what took it from good to great.

  • Film
User Rating 3.6 (15 votes)


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