Available streaming on the Bad Ben website! But I bought the DVD on Amazon from Breaking Glass Pictures!
BAD BEN 9: BENIGN (2021)
Directed, written, animated by Nigel Bach.
Starring Nigel Bach, Holly Barnes, Steve Reynolds
Find out more about this film here!
Oh, what a journey it has been. Before I started watching this BAD BEN series, I had no idea who Nigel Bach was or why the series had lasted so long. Nine films in and even though I’ve never met Mr. Bach, I feel as if I know him and I like the dude. Through his films, he’s let the viewer into his own home. I’ve watched him develop as a filmmaker through the years, taking a very simple concept and pushing it in all sorts of directions. He’s taken some chances I’ve liked (PART 7: THE HAUNTED HIGHWAY) and some haven’t (PART 8: PANDEMIC). As a lover of low fi cinema, there really is nothing like what Bach has built in nine films and a few short films. There’s no denying that his is a unique voice in the vast low budget landscape.
BAD BEN 9: BENIGN is the latest of Bach’s series about a haunted house located on Steelmanville Road in New Jersey. It begins with Bach wandering out of his back yard confused and wounded. As makes his way to his home, it’s locked. Once he breaks inside, things are different. There is new furniture, a cat, and dog beds, though Bach’s Tom Riley character doesn’t recall getting any of that. Something is definitely off, and this is the central mystery of BENIGN.
While it gets more obvious what’s happening as this type of thing has happened before in this BAD BEN series, Tom’s run-ins with evil clowns, scary dolls, and mystery cats make things punchy. As usual, there are quite a few decently timed jump scares which break up the monotony. Some are predictable, others really work. Still, even when they don’t cause a start, I chuckled at every attempt.
With every installment, you get a good dose of comedy as well and while I never find myself dying laughing at Bach’s humor, there are always a few worthwhile yuks in this one. Most of it, though is Tom Riley running in circles from room to room of his house which is basically the norm with these BAD BEN films. Tom takes quite a beating in this installment. Despite his age, Tom proves to be pretty limber and acts as a pretty good stuntman, as he is tossed all over the place by the supernatural forces he faces.
This installment again shows how Bach is expanding his CGI repertoire. There are some pretty cool floating head and severed hand effects utilizing green screen. That’s some damn impressive effects given the bare bones basics tradition of this series.
Still, BENIGN felt almost as if it were following a routine rather than coming up with new material. The twist at the end is fun and I’m interested where it leads. From a storytelling standpoint, Bach is growing, but still, I feel BENIGN would have been much better as an hour and twenty-minute movie rather than an hour forty. I feel the last few installments have gone long and I would appreciate more of what Bach is able to accomplish if it were edited a bit crisper and been more precise and to the point.
Fear not. The BAD BEN series is not over. I’ve heard a tenth installment is in the works and when BAD BEN 10: EULOGY drops on Memorial Day, May 30, 2022, you bet your sweet patoot I’ll be covering it.
BAD BEN Review!!
BAD BEN 2: STEELMANVILLE ROAD Review!!
BAD BEN 3: BADDER BEN Review!!
BAD BEN 4: THE MANDELA EFFECT Review!!
BAD BEN 5: THE CRESCENT MOON CLOWN Review!!
BAD BEN 6: THE WAY IN Review!!
BAD BEN 7: THE HAUNTED HIGHWAY Review!!
BAD BEN Short Film Review!!
BAD BEN 8: PANDEMIC Review!!