Streaming on Tubi and the BAD BEN website here!
BAD BEN 3: BADDER BEN (aka THE FINAL CHAPTER, 2017)
Directed and Written by Nigel Bach.
Starring Nigel Bach, Jacquie Baker, Matthew Schmid, David J. Greenberg, Matthew Klemic
In this installment of the BAD BEN series, mistakenly marked THE FINAL CHAPTER, a pair of paranormal investigators attempt to make a documentary about the house on Steelmanville Road where the previous BAD BEN films have been set and find instead find out that Tom Riley (writer/director/series creator Nigel Bach) actually survived the ordeals of the original film. But Tom has returned a broken man and the more investigator Jacquie (Jacquie Baker) and her cameraman Schmiddy (Matthew Schmid) probe into the mystery, the chances for their survival lessen.
BAD BEN 3: BADDER BEN is much more of a comedy than previous films. Or, I guess the comedy is more front and center and well realized in this installment more so than ever. There are quite a few comedic setups and payoffs that really work and while the previous films have their moments, this one induced a chuckle or two much faster. One of the things I love to watch is the development of skill when I follow the path of filmmakers and Bach’s comedic skills have improved quite a bit here. It doesn’t work all of the time, but more often than previous films.
The problem is that the scares just aren’t as prevalent in BAD BEN 3. Here’s the thing. If I’m by myself in a house and all of a sudden, a door slams, I’m shitting myself. But that visceral fear just doesn’t translate as well when it’s in a movie. It’s just someone pulling a string off camera to make a door slam. But BAD BEN 3 wants that pants shitting effect to happen when the doors slam, and they slam doors often in this film. Unfortunately, that just doesn’t translate, especially when that’s the only scare that occurs in the first half. I get it. The film is escalating to something, but when even the characters don’t so much as twitch when the door slams, it doesn’t really succeed in scaring the audience. Repeated door slams and it’s even less scary. In the original and its sequel/prequel, Bach spreads the creepiness of the house being haunted by evil entities more evenly with a slow, but steady escalation of events. Not so much here and it makes for a lesser film.
I will say that I like Jacquie Baker. She really plays a spunky, free spirit character who is eager to capture paranormal things with her camera. She’s got an infectious way about her and is by far, the most talented actress so far in the BAD BEN series. Her enthusiasm is what is going to keep you watching until the very end. The cautious and gun shy camera man is a longstanding cliché in these types of films, but Matthew Schmid, plays the role well. Bach again is enjoyable to watch as he’s just a big oaf with a flat line delivery, but still proves to be a likable throughway between the original film and this one.
BAD BEN 3 has better sound effects with a growling demon and some of the visual effects work better as it seems like a bit more shekels were spent to get this one done. There’s a shadowy encounter with the Jersey Devil in the woods that is hard to discern in the darkness, but what you can see is fun. The original BAD BEN ended with the done-to-death drag away sequence. Not to be beat, this third installment features a badly acted up nose confessional where the cameraman Schmiddy weeps out his last words. And then it also has a drag away to cover all of the bases. Yes, I know this series has always been a bit tongue in cheek, but this one feels like it’s parodying itself a times. I hate to think that the BAD BEN series peaked at the second film, but number three just lacks the oomph, scares, and fun of the previous entries. I’m hoping BAD BEN 3 is just a bump in the road. There are six more films to date, and it’s going to be a long six weeks if it gets worse from here. See you next time with BAD BEN 4: THE MANDELA EFFECT!