Oh, the puns available for this one! "This is a very bad film." "The title
is right, this film is a very bad thing." "The only very bad things are the
actors." But sadly none will apply. While Very Bad Things is far from
perfect, it does offer some entertainment value. The story centres around a
motley crew of five guys who accidentally kill a prostitute during a stag
night. After burying her in the desert, they slowly start to go crazy, and
Robert Boyd (Slater) starts getting rid of all the people who might know
anything about the murder.
Very Bad Things is an admirable attempt to bring gruesome horror and humour
to a movie, but something went wrong along the way. Perhaps it's the actors.
Jon Favreau, Slater, Daniel Stern, and Diaz have all proven to be good
comedic actors, but here their talents are reduced to nothing but shouting.
A lot. Nearly every line in this movie is said very, very loudly. Somewhat
amusing at first, it soon becomes boring watching five men (and a woman)
yell at each other. Also, many of the actors are below par, with only Slater
providing any real interest as 'the homicidal one.' I guess the film was
trying to make these guys unlikeable, but sadly they come across as
seriously irritating. And there's quite a big difference between unliveable
Perhaps the director is at fault. Peter Berg directs the film in a slapstick
fashion, but the two genres (horror and comedy) still very uneasily with
each other. The gore borders on gross, the humour is somewhat funny, but
doesn't fit within the film. It's like Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn
suddenly got thrown into Natural Born Killers. A very odd mix, to be sure.
Berg also wrote the script, so I as hoping he would handle his own script
somewhat better. Sadly, he's not a competent enough director to direct this
kind of movie. While Wes Craven easily meshed horror and comedy in Scream
(1996) Berg likes the talent to pull this off.
The script itself is okay, but the plot promises a lot but delivers little.
There's a few funny lines, but not much is laugh out loud funny. The farce,
when it works, is actually quite amusing, but it's lacking sophistication
that this film really could do with. Also, the violence before the comedy
always makes the audience a little embarrassed to laugh.
Very Bad Things is ultimately disappointing, but there's some odd charm
about the movie that makes it watchable. If you have the stomach and want to
kill time, Very Bad Things is a mildly amusing 100 minutes. Just don't
expect anything special.
Copyright © 1999 David Wilcock