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  • Rev Horror

Bad Things

Dir. Stewart Thorndike

A young woman inherits a resort from her mother and gathers with three friends to scout it out before she sells it. She learns that women do very bad things there.


Coming to Shudder in a couple of days, Bad Things is a queer horror film that wears its inspiration on its sleeve and often fails to live up to its loftier goals. Gayle Rankin (GLOW) plays Ruthie, a young woman who has recently inherited a downtrodden resort from her mother and is seeking to restore some of its charm before selling it off. She brings her girlfriend Cal (Hari Nef), her secret sidepiece Fran (Annabelle Dexter-Jones) and Fran's friend Maddie (Rad Pereira). The quartet begin seeing things at the hotel shortly after their arrival, hinting at the ghastly history that still haunts the hotel. Unfortunately, despite a few eerie scenes, there's very little that hits home in ways that haven't been done far better before.

There are, of course, some good things here: the acting is competent, the directing/cinematography pulls off some great shots, and the score is decent as well. Some of the more shocking moments are jarringly effective, and it's almost saved by a decent mindfuck ending (that is never really explained). Most of the film, however, feels like an attempt to make The Shining but pointless. There's very little to hold interest throughout much of the film, and despite Rankin's best efforts, the film falls flat almost immediately once the film starts.

There's just no meat on the bones. This story has been done before, and it's been done far better. In fact, there's so much similarity between this film and The Shining that it's almost too much. Old hotel? Check. Snowy desolation? Check. Ghostly beings that appear and make the whole movie not just a slow monotonous death march? Double check. They even reuse the "creepy dead twins" thing, though Kubrick's haunted hotel did it much scarier. You won't find anything in this one winding up on a "Scariest Scenes of All Time" list.

At the end of the day, Bad Things is another miss from Shudder, an attempt at "elevated horror" (God I hate that term) that fails to ever get its motor running. The ending has so much promise, and perhaps had it been attached to a better movie (with a longer, more explanatory ending), this one could've been salvaged. As it is, it's a half-hearted copy of better films that really didn't need to be made.

Who this movie is for: Modern horror fans, Queer horror lovers, Hospitality workers

Bottom line: A fairly blatant ripoff of The Shining, Bad Things has all of the atmosphere and ambience. Director Stewart Thorndike does an adequate job, but there's just not enough oomph in the story to make it all the way through the story. The acting is alright, the cinematography serves its purpose, and there's a nice little role for a notable Brat Pack star. Other than that, it's a fairly ho-hum effort.


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