The Bad Man

10/23/2018 07:20

Film: The Bad Man

Year: 2018

Director: Scott Schrimer

Writer: Scott Schrimer

Starring: Ellie Church, Arthur Cullipher and Jason Crowe



This was a film that I got to check out at Nightmares Film Festival for its world premiere. I actually sat next to the director without even realizing it. The official synopsis for this film is Mary (Ellie Church) and PJ (Jason Crowe) are kidnapped and tortured by a sadistic clown bent on transforming them into sex slaves for sale. When PJ goes mad, can Mary find a way out before auction day arrives?

Now I will be honest, I came into this one as blind as I could. I knew very little about the plot and I’m glad that I did. This film really stuck with me after I watched it. I even had to tell the director and writer, Scott Schrimer, that after the viewing as well.

We get a documentary-style interview of Mary to kick us off. She doesn’t want to talk about what happened to her, as it is quite traumatic. She is convinced though when she is told they will pay all of her medical bills to be able to hear the story. She reluctantly agrees.

The film then shifts to showing us what happened to get her to that place. Mary’s grandmother used to run a bed and breakfast. She has passed away so Mary has inherited it. They are moving in and are going to make some changes, but keep the place open. There is a knock at the door and they meet Lawrence (Arthur Cullipher). He has a reservation. They inform him of what happened and decided to honor it still.

Over dinner they learn that he is a clown and this freaks Mary out. She is in the bathtub with PJ later and she thinks she sees Lawrence staring at them, in full clown make-up. They go to check and see that he’s asleep. Their lives are turned upside down the next day when he injects both of them with something that paralyzes them for the time being. Lawrence has his henchman, Charlie (Dave Parker) show up to help him. He goes about conditioning them into obedience, making Mary into a doll and PJ into a dog.

Much like I told the writer/director, this film really stuck with me after the initial viewing. This is one that I would like to revisit at some point, but it definitely has some heavy subject matter. With that being said though, I really liked what they did with the story. Being that I live in Ohio, there are signs warning about human trafficking and to report it. I never really thought about it in the terms that both of these people are planning on being sold. Part of that is just being a male and the other part is that you don’t ever think it will happen to you. This film really made me think.

In order to get them ready for this though, Lawrence has to condition them both. This is what really makes this film hard to watch. The amount of physical, sociological and sexual abuse that they have to do endure is crazy. Mary’s is bad, I’m not out to diminish that in any way. PJ has it much worse though in my opinion as to what he has to go through. He is forced to eat dog food and that is some of the tamest punishment he has to endure. This is one of the films that are you hoping the characters can get their revenge. On top of that though, you almost don’t know if it is worth it to survive this. If there is going to be anything left of who they were. This film gave me a similar feel to watching like a The Last House on the Left.

This film does run about 105 minutes, which I will admit it does feel like it. This is a slow-burn and a lot of the building is actually watching what they endure. If there is anything that I would say for the film, is that some of that could probably be cut out to help tighten the film. I do think that it does great in building the tension and the ending is very fitting for what we get. Seeing the aftermath as well is something that I truly believed. It actually hit me really hard and I felt horrible.

Going along with the things that we see in the film and the depravity, it really focuses on the acting. Church was amazing in this film. Seeing her broken down by this crazy clown had me feeling dirty to watch. Seeing the things that she endures, I have to give her credit for her performance. Cullipher was also great as the madman. It was asked during a Q&A after the film that he didn’t wash his face for a long stretch. I loved that the make-up runs and the deeper he sinks into insanity, the worse it is getting. It was a great embodiment of the character. PJ also had a great performance. He isn’t allowed to speak for a good portion of the film, but seeing him broken in his eyes was powerful. He went through much worse and seeing how quickly he is conditioned was heartbreaking. Trying to break it also effected me. Parker is interesting in that he doesn’t have any lines, but he has a character shift as well. For seeing the things he does, I still felt for him as well. I thought the rest of the cast round out the film well for what was needed of them.

There wasn’t a lot in the way of effects for the film, but the ones that were used were great. The one that really comes to mind is the ending and what truly frees them from the horror. It was very much like the film Irreversible. The blood that is used in the film looked solid. It is also shot very well.

Now with that said, this film is heavy. I need to preface with that, because I feel that is very good. I was quite impressed to be honest. This is one that stuck with me after I had left the theater and was one that I’m glad I now own. Much like similar films, it will take me some time to revisit this one as how it made me feel. The story is something that is very real and could happen to anyone. I’ll admit as male, I wasn’t so much nervous for it, but something like this film could be done to anyone. The acting is great; it really brings this to film to life. There aren’t a lot in the way of effects, but the ones we get are really good. The only thing I would say is that film is a tad long, but it is hard to decide what to do take out during the conditioning scenes. The score of the film also didn’t really stand out or hurt the film. I will say this film is really good, but it’s not for everyone. If you can handle what happens on the screen, then I’d give it a viewing for sure.


My Rating: 9 out of 10