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BAD BEN 8: PANDEMIC (2020)
Directed, written, animated by Nigel Bach.
Starring Nigel Bach
Find out more about this film here!
While in quarantine due to a highly contagious virus, Tom Riley (Nigel Bach) attempts to keep his paranormal investigation gig afloat by doing online consultations. Riley is inundated with videos from people all over the world; some claiming their loved ones have succumbed to the virus turning them into mindless zombies, while some claiming more demonic possessions are going on. Riley does his best to consult these desperate souls, but finds online consultation to be less than successful in saving anyone’s lives.
Unlike any of the other BAD BEN films, PANDEMIC is the most self-referential and self-conscious. It’s also my least favorite by far. I understand that, at this point, Bach is in search of something new to do with this BAD BEN series, so I can appreciate him trying new things. But this experiment proved to be pretty unsatisfying. Basically, the film consists of Tom Riley (Bach) sitting at his computer and opening video attachments and answering Zoom calls. These shorts were not made by Riley, which is why most of them lack that BAD BEN charm that permeates all of the other installments. These shorts are made by fans and tied loosely together with some commentary by Tom. Being made by fans, Bach seems pretty forgiving for the shoddy film-making going on. This proves him to be a nice guy, but it doesn’t prove to make for an enjoyable movie.
These short films, each lasting about two or three minutes, are excruciatingly repetitive. It’s as if Bach may have sent out an idea to his fans and they all tried to make the exact same short inside and around their homes. Every one of these films, and there are about twenty of them, if not more, consist of the same jump scares, the same plot points, even the same beginning intros. They all seem to describe the same situation, with slight variation, resulting in someone popping up out of the darkness or charging the camera, and then the camera goes black. Sure, this might cause a jolt or two, but when seen over and over, it proves the law of diminishing returns. By the end, it seems even Riley has run out of comments reacting to the video.
If PANDEMIC proves anything, it’s that not everyone can make a BAD BEN style movie. It proves that despite his rudimentary set ups and deliveries, Bach’s special recipe for low budget horror can’t be easily repeated. It makes me respect Bach more for his conviction to his film-making and the continuation of this series. I get that the Pandemic was a time of great turmoil for everyone and Bach most likely did his best to make something out of all of these repetitive shorts, but he can only do so much.
PANDEMIC is way overlong, clocking in at almost two hours. That’s two hours of different people playing out the same scenario over and over and over again. If I didn’t have to review it, I wouldn’t have endured it and I wouldn’t recommend you do it either. Next week is the latest and last BAD BEN movie, PART 9 called BENIGN. I see what you did there, Nigel. See you all then.
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