An Unbiased and Completely True Review Of..."Bad Ben"
What's It All About?
Tom Riley purchases a house, sight unseen and as is, at a local Sheriff's Office auction for a fantastically low price. Unfortunately for Tom, this low price was the amount of money he had on hand, meaning that for the near future, he is flat broke. But, he has plans on making a few improvements to the place and flip it for a huge profit. This shouldn't be too difficult a task for this middle aged guy, as the home is already in great shape inside, and comes fully furnished with everything a person needs to call a home a home. This turns out to be pretty beneficial for Tom, as he only drives his Prius to the home over the entire course of the film, and never once does he move anything into the house from where he lived previously, including clothing (Yikes.)
After what he thinks is a break in, he decides to have the security cameras placed through the house, across the street, in the backyard and on the sides of the house activated to catch the culprits should they return. This begins his 'proof' of paranormal activity in the home. Chairs move, doors open by themselves, there is something going on in the basement, and there is an occasional growling noise that can be heard frequently.
Tom is not exactly the best paranormal investigator, spending most of his time chasing sounds down and cursing like a drunken sailor at the spirits that are haunting his home. I mean, seriously, how is he expected to make a profit on the place if it's all haunted with what appears to be a malevolent ghost?
Tom does his best to rid the home of the evil entity, which pretty much just makes this worse off for him. He is constantly taunted and even physically hurt by the entity, leading up to a final confrontation in the basement.
So What Do I Think?
Oh my. Bad Ben.
I really didn't expect that much out of this movie, as even the thumbnail picture on Prime gave off the impression of it being a no budget movie. Boy was I wrong, it did have a budget and it is rumored to have been approximately $300, and it shows. I don't want to make the impression that this is a bad thing, because what Nigel Bach has done with the money is nothing short of impressive.
The found footage genre is a tricky one to dabble in. Since Blair Witch, everybody and their brother has been trying to catch that lightning bolt again, mostly with no success. In this movie, Nigel borrows a page from Paranormal Activity 2 by utilizing "security cameras" to record all the action. When he is not actively on screen, the first person perspective shots are clearly from his phone, and are interspersed enough that it doesn't get stale.
Nigel is the producer, director, editor, and actor in this movie, and it shows. One would assume that a one person movie, where there are huge gaps where literally nothing happens and/or, the main character is talking aloud to nothing in particular would be an exercise in torture to watch. Somehow this movie makes it work. Yes, the dialogue is at time extremely cheesy as written by Nigel, and yes some of the editing done by Nigel is less than professional grade, but the heartfelt attempt to make something, if not for the general public, but those who know him, does show during the run time.
Nigel manages to make the 'ghost' effects of the movie look mostly believable. When a chair moves, it is done through practical effects and obviously so, but in this format of low level production it comes off as quaint. I admire Nigel for tackling this project and putting it online, even hitting the Amazon Prime library of videos where I found this gem. It must have made an impact either on Nigel's life or the public who have seen the movie, as he went on to make 6 more of these movies, nothing coming close to the magic of this first one as far as plot (such as it is), acting (as little as Nigel does), and special effects.
I cannot tell you just how bad this movie is, but that the level of horrible is such that it transcends itself and becomes a truly entertaining bit of cinematic oddballness. My wife is a stickler for movies and truly does not like sitting through really awful movies like this was set up to be, but found herself eager to move onto the next few when we saw them on the list. No matter how bad a day you have had, it can't be any worse than the one that Tom goes through in this movie, and much like the Stooges shorts of the past, his misfortune in sure to entertain you.