Reviewing the bad stuff
Bad Things (2023) Movie review FROM 22nd Annual Tribeca Film FestivalOR movie written and directed by Stewart Thorndike and playing Gayle Rankin, Nephi Day, Annabelle Dexter-Jones, Rad Pereira, Jared Abrahamson, Molly Ringwald, Ariella Josephine, Patrick Klein, The Slosar Fund AND Holland Smith.
Bad thingsdirected by Stewart Thorndike, is an intriguing horror film haunted by the hotel in the glow. While the film is certainly not at the level of a feature-length masterpiece, glow, Bad things still has a lot to offer viewers who like their scary movies unpredictable and creepy with a good amount of tension sprinkled throughout. Gayle Rankin stars in the picture as Ruthie, who along with three friends, Cal (Hari Nef), Fran (Annabelle Dexter-Jones) and Maddie (Rad Pereira), will see their relationship tested and then several events that get out of control suddenly. . the way the plot slowly releases its twists and turns.
Gayle Rankin carries most of the film and gives a performance that is quite fascinating to watch as the character of Ruthie has an unpredictability that makes the character a bit suspicious. We don’t know if she is the victim or the culprit of some strange events that happen all the time.
It’s the hotel in the movie, the Comley Suites, that seems to have some dark secrets buried within the rooms there. There’s a reason why Ruthie seems to have inherited it. In between all this is a series of scenes where Ruthie watches a master of hospitality (Molly Ringwald of Sixteen candles fame) in the videos on her phone. Jared Abrahamson serves as Brian, a handyman who is also a hotel frequenter, who is present in the story line for a good reason.
Hari Nef, as Cal, is an extremely energetic performer who can add some depth to the story line in any scene where Nef appears. There’s little trickery in the story line, and Nef’s Cal emerges as a character of interest who helps push the plot forward under unusual circumstances.
There is plenty of opportunity for the audience to relate to the unfolding nightmare Bad things. Imagine being stuck in a hotel in the middle of a snowy nowhere with people you’re not sure you can trust. Not to mention the impossibility of getting an uber that takes you away from it all. It gives you a sense of the kind of fear Thorndike is evoking here. There are also guests who seem mostly unconscious, which makes the audience wonder what is going on with them. Are they real or hallucinatory?
All of this would be a lot less exciting without the revelations that occur later in the film. When Brian appears to be dead, the group of friends is reluctant to trust Ruthie, while another key character is left out of the action and left to sleep at a train station. Does that character return for any particular reason? And, if that person returns, what will happen as plot twists are slowly revealed. There’s a chainsaw set in motion just in case you need to remember that this is a real horror movie. You could mistake it for a thriller until a few key elements seal the deal to make it as scary as possible.
Rankin is a credible performer to pull off a plot as subtle as this. Dexter-Jones adds some fuel to the fire with an intense twist that’s also important. However, it is Molly Ringwald who steals the film. As a hospitality expert, you’d expect her to have a smaller role here than she does. When Ringwald appears at one point late in the picture, it’s a real moment of genius in a film that has several other scenes that feel recycled from various previous horror films. The scenes with Ringwald are fresh and original. She has a huge stage that should make every fan of hers eager to see her Bad things.
Ruthie may or may not want to sell her hotel, and the way the film’s final elements come together isn’t entirely logical. This film requires the audience to make up their own minds about what is happening throughout the course of the film, especially at the end of the picture. This can be a turn off for some viewers who like their answers written for them.
Bad things marks a glamorous return to the big screen for former teen idol Molly Ringwald, while Gayle Rankin could become a star with a very unique job in this picture. It won’t appeal to everyone, but those who like the ambiguity of glow along with some original creepy elements you can find a lot to admire here.
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