BAD BEN 5: THE CRESCENT MOON CLOWN (2018)
Directed and Written by Nigel Bach.
Starring Nigel Bach, Jhetta Tionne Anderson, Nikita Shestyan
Renee (Jhetta Tionne Anderson) and her family has recently moved into the house on Steelmanville Road. Staying in the house alone for the night, she begins noticing strange things occurring in and around the house. When she finds a locked box in the basement, she opens it to find a cross, a clown doll, and ashes. She throws out the box in the trash and accidentally unleashes the Crescent Moon Clown—a monster who torments her throughout the night.
THE CRESCENT MOON CLOWN opens up a new chapter in the BAD BEN saga. This is more of a precise story, set in one night in the house. I like it that writer/director/star Nigel Bach has honed in on one single occurrence in telling this tale. Unlike the more out there concepts like the time loop for the last installment or the extensive backstory of the first three films, I found it refreshing to see a simple and new challenge arise for the residents of the house. That said, the lead character is played extremely dumb. In order for the film to be feature length, Anderson isn’t allowed to react like everyone else would if they were in the same shoes. Windows open by themselves. Doors do the same. Much of the film is Renee circling around the interior of the home repeatedly asking, what the hell is going on after closing windows and doors that she knows she closed before. There’s only so many times these occurrences can happen before you just start running out of the house and never looking back. There is a threat outside in the form of the screeching demon from the first three films to prevent her from leaving, but with the strange things occurring inside, I’d risk leaving rather than just staying and obliviously putting things back in order as she does for almost an hour. Not until the 50-minute mark of hearing noises, things moving, and lights turning off and on does this woman decide she needs a weapon. I mean, someone writes “Hello” in blood on the floor of the kitchen in the first fifteen minutes. That’s enough to send me packing pronto.
Another thing that really grinded my gears was that for the first half hour of the movie, Renee is walking around in flip-flops which are annoying as hell to follow in an otherwise quiet movie. Hearing her clop around the house was absolutely grating. While the Crescent Moon Clown is supposed to be an evil entity, it walks around as if it were a real person. I was kind of wishing that it would have actually been just some psycho in a mask as it would have added something different to the franchise. Having the monster be ethereal some times and solid in others only adds to the confusion.
The film picks up in the last reel when good old Tom Riley (Nigel Bach) shows up to save the day. While he’s not the best actor, I’ve grown to love the guy. I also find it pretty amazing that at this point in the series, following one person or another around the house, I have pretty much memorized the floor plan of the house on Steelmanville Road as if it were my own home. I can’t say that for many other horror films. The consistently in this series really makes watching each entry feel comfortable to return to. And while this installment left me wanting, with the entire story boiling down to a single joke at the end, it does have a few solid scares and I applaud the decision to move in a different direction with a new monster at this point in the series. This isn’t a completely futile sequel, but one with a lot more obvious flaws than previous entries.
Next week we find out THE WAY IN—in the sixth BAD BEN movie. See you then.