Tribeca Film Festival: Run as Fast as You Can From “Bad Things”

Tribeca Film Festival: Run as Fast as You Can From “Bad Things”

Though there are always new and fresh ideas being delivered through the horror genre, there is always a note of familiarity in most of their plotlines. Family terrorized by vengeful spirits, teens chased by crazed maniac, inanimate object becomes sentient and starts killing. The list could go on forever. The new horror film, Bad Things, which premiered at the 2023 Tribeca film festival goes with the group of friends on a weekend trip to an abandoned location have their fun times turned into death and murder. But instead of doing something clever and inventive with the premise, the film drives itself swiftly into a sink hole of incompressible nonsense.

After her grandmother passes away, Ruthie Nodd (Gayle Rankin) heads to the “secluded” hotel the now passed patriarch owned and ran. She is meant to meet up with her mother while there to discuss the sale of the property. Ruthie though decides to take a group of friends with her for one last hurrah on the ground of The Comley Hotel. Though her partner thinks they are there to fix it up and run it themselves.

From the moment they arrive, things don’t really seem to be going to plan. Ruthie’s mother is nowhere to be found. One of her friends brings along a woman who Ruthie cheated on her partner with. A scenario which caused a rift between the two that is just begging to heal. And of course, the appearance of some very strange and “creepy” ghosts kick off a very strange and dangerous weekend.

There is no good place to start with Bad Things. It’s The Shining by way of American Psycho with none of the horror, none of the scares, none of the nuance, none of the cleverness, none of the brilliance, and all of the confusion. As the story sort of unravels, the film veers further and further into complete nonsense with zero connecting ties. You can throw your theories at the screen if you want, but even if you’re right, it doesn’t matter. None of it matter because the entire run time is flaccid and comedic when it isn’t meant to be.

Even if you want to take the initial story run at face value, it is a Swiss cheese script of cringey exposition dumps with no thought or genuine intrigue behind them. Let alone the fact you’re going to turn your head inside out trying to justify character decisions. And we’re not talking typical horror decisions like, “Why would you go in that room when you know the killer is there” kind of stuff; though there is plenty of that.

Again, taking the story at face value to start…You’re invited to go on this weekend by your friend who recently was hurt by their partner who cheated on them. This is someone you care about and want to make sure they’re ok. So, who would you invite to join in on this weekend getaway as you defacto date? That’s right, the woman who your friend was cheated on with.

As much as the film finally delves into all the events either being in someone’s head or being a play put on by ghosts or however you want to rationalize it; you’re still watching people being terrorized by at some point a slasher, while they decide to just go to sleep thinking locking the killer outside will stop them from getting in. Dead cellphones start working right after you make a whole scene about them being dead. Characters get no real backstories to help shore up the confusion. There is just nothing about Bad Things that works.

Instead of blood, the walls run wet with mother’s milk while bad acting and abysmal decision making run rampant. It’s a massive leap of faith for anyone to think the slop of a story presented can be solved without a letter from the writer/director explaining it. Frankly, I’m shocked Shudder would acquire this film for distribution. I always say that if someone can find enjoyment in a film, even if I loathe it; that is great for them. But I’m hard-pressed to think anyone can find anything redeemable in Bad Things.

Final Grade: F

Check out more of Matthew’s articles.


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