Vanessa is a square screen junkie that loves to find overlooked gems that get hidden in the flood of things to see.
Before you get your hackles up, I support Indie films. Titles are supposed to grab your attention and if you're reading this, the title is doing its job.
I love engaging in movie related debates as each viewer can take away something different from any piece of work.
I sometimes prefer the lesser known, low-budget, hard-earned titles that every once in a while you can stumble across. In this case, each of these movies had things going for them which I explain. However, they did not make me excited or happy that I had watched them. I didn't like them.
Don't let that stop you from finding a copy or streaming them through your Netflix account. Maybe you like to read between the lines and have outcomes dependant on your own musings. If anything, they will get you talking and thinking.
1. 'The Bad Batch' (2017)
This movie sucked me in on its great looking cast, its plot line, and because people were talking about it. I soon realized people were not saying nice things. It was too late by then though, I had already subjected myself to this stinker.
What Is The Story?
It's set up to be a fantastic thriller about a woman named Arlen who is shown receiving a numbered tattoo behind her ear before being dumped over a fence line into the desert. She finds shelter before being quickly chased down by cannibals who live within another part of the desert as part of a community.
On the other side is a township called Comfort that is run by a cult-like leader with a harem of machine gun-toting pregnant women who live within an oasis. They hand out drugs like candy to those that choose to take them.
Where Did It Go Wrong?
Based on the plot, it would seem like this movie would be amazing, especially when you throw in Keanu Reeves, Jim Carey, and Suki Waterhouse who, to be fair, were pretty darn great in their roles.
It did have some things going for it. The cinematography is amazing, the scenes in the desert are at times beautiful, and the soundtrack is also pretty cool. In fact, it somewhat reminded me of a music video, except that it ran for 115 minutes. It also gives off a Mad Max (1985) vibe given that the characters are just as weird. Had this movie had a stronger narrative, it would've been much more likeable.
If you didn't know Jim Carey was starring in this, he is unrecognizable as the lonely hermit with the shopping trolley who just happens to be there when any of the main characters are trying to cross the sand. Having him pop up all the time made the desert feel small.
The story just fades away into a search for a little girl with no back story by two people who also have no story worth telling. They just kind of like each other more than they liked being alone or within a cult.
I get it, I do...it's about hopelessness and desolation and choices blah blah blah, but nothing happens after the first frantic scene at the beginning. After that, it's like they decided that was enough effort for this movie and they should have ended it shortly after.
Quick Film Info
Genre: The Bad Batchis described as a romantic, horror thriller, I can see where the description came from, however, I prefer less Stockholm syndrome in my romance and more thrill in my thriller. It barely scrapes into the horror area except for some fairly intense scenes involving the cannibals at the beginning.
Release and Budget: It was released in the USA in June of 2017and had a budget of $6 million. However, it only made $180,000 at the box office.
'The Bad Batch' Trailer
2. Here Alone (2016)
This was the best of the three movies, but only because it had a beginning, a middle, and an end, plus a story that has some meat to it. Somehow, they managed to make it boring as well. It's also extremely depressing.
The original premise, given on the Kickstarter fund request page by the director, points to a 'what do you do?' dinner party scenario based on an apocalypse derived from a mysterious flu-like virus. It creates chaos among those uninfected. For those that are infected, they slowly begin emerging as zombies.
What Is The Story?
This movie features virus-crazed, zombie-like people attracted to the scent of blood after an apocalyptic event that caused much of the population to be wiped out. Ann is alone and trying to survive in the woods with her car as a shelter.
Where Did It Go Wrong?
This movie had the right recipe to be exciting, and at times it is. But most of the backstory is told through flashbacks. The story told is about desolation and a lack of hope and choices. Ann provides a basis about the differences in making an error in normal life and making an error during the apocalypse that usually results in death.
The story itself is somewhat captivating in that I was bored, but I couldn't turn it off. I did want to see what happened in her flashback story even though I guessed how the narration would play out.
This movie is depressing and boring at the same time. Everything about it is depressing. There is no uplifting moment to take the edge off and the two people she finds just happen to have one of the oddest and, yet again, depressing dynamics I have ever come across. When the focus of a whole movie has only three people, it becomes absurd that the two adults would be oblivious to one's obvious psychological issues.
Nevertheless, by the end you know what happened to Ann's family prior to her being alone, and then how the new trio end up where they did. But nothing actually happens otherwise. The ending is also depressing. Although the writers and producers did a good job of showing a slow, endless build of frustrating hopelessness for Ann, they really could have added some excitement by way of a sub plot. Perhaps it could have been about the city or a corresponding storyline about the father and step-daughter.
The zombies are similar to those in 28 Days Later (2002) in that they are fast-moving and have the ability to chase you with some degree of accuracy while remaining somewhat human looking. However, knowing there are a good number of them within a short distance of their camp, it goes against the notion of being in the woods for solitude. Perhaps they should have chosen a more remote place. Ann's husband, Jason, chose the site due to it being where he grew up but I still think they could have found a safer location.
Quick Film Info
Genre: While I agree that psychological horrors are becoming more common with the likes of It Comes at Night (2017), I am not sure that these types of films are deserving of a horror placement. It is definitely a drama though. IMDb has it under sci-fi, but it's not that at all. At best, I would call it a psychological thriller.
Release and Budget: The film premiered in the USA at the 2016 Tallgrass Film Festival before getting a wider release in March 2017. It was funded by Kickstarter where they asked for $35000. That was for the flashbacks, however they are the meat of the story, so I daresay the overall budget was very low.
'Here Alone' Trailer
3. Bokeh (2017)
If I see the words apocalyptic or last two people on Earth within a movie synopsis, I become interested. This one mentioned vanishing and I thought I was onto a winner. This one was the most boring of the three movies and I have nothing nice to say about it except the cinematography was stunning. It made me want to plan a trip to Iceland. If anything, I learned a little about the countryside and its unique tourist attractions.
What Is The Story?
A very much in love couple are on a holiday in Iceland, casually enjoying the sights and enjoying being tourists. They are staying in a hotel in a small town. One morning, they discover that everybody has disappeared. They are unable to contact anyone using their phones and technology is not forthcoming with information.
Where Did It Go Wrong?
What happened? Nothing, that's what. Nothing happens at all in this movie. There is no story about any person in this film. There is no lead up to the event that takes place and there is no follow through for the aftermath when it seems like they are the last two people on Earth.
They have a supermarket full of food and the power is still on due to the town having a private power source. Cars work and they have access to petrol and water.
We know nothing about their lives before, besides a tiny glimpse into Jenai's family through listening to her saved messages on her mobile phone. There is also her whining about wanting to go home and get her favourite book that she used as a journal. Because of this, I found it difficult to connect with either character. I didn't like them and I didn't hate them. I was firmly indifferent.
Riley, her boyfriend, even rigs up a windmill-like device so that they can get water into their apartment. There is no risk of running out of water though, as Iceland is a beautiful area and is full of many pretty places. There are plenty natural water falls and water sources that we see a lot of. If anything, this is a good advertisement of somewhere unique to take a holiday, which I found myself daydreaming about during this snoozefest.
At least in The Vanishing on 7th Street (2010) there is a story and some kind of allusion to what happened in The Mist (2007). In this film, there is just a feeling of pointlessness. Perhaps that is what the writers were going for, I don't know. I never felt a sense of dread or tension though, just many moments where I was trying to will something to jump out, poison them, or do anything really.
The most annoying thing about this film is that the night before the discovery that they are suddenly deserted, we see Jenai wake in the middle of the night and see something peculiar from her window, which I thought was alluding towards the cause being in some way nuclear. However, there was no bomb because there were no after effects of that happening. After what feels like hours into the movie, we see animals are still happily strolling around. Oh, and Jenai and Riley never discuss her having seen anything that fateful night, just that they will never know the cause.
If someone could tell me the point, I'd be happy to hear it. In fact, I asked around and I was told that it is about one persons slide into depression verses anothers ability to be ok. That does not make a movie. I'd like to say it's about hopelessness and desolation but I can't because they never seem to be in danger or at risk of dying anytime soon. They certainly don't venture out looking for a boat or anything, which is what I would do if my curiosity was killing me. They just keep sightseeing. This is just nothing but a pointless 92 minutes of nothing.
Quick Film Info
Genre: IMDb says it's a drama. If there was drama in it, I would agree. But there's not. It also says it's sci-fi. I guess if things can be described as psychological horror then this could perhaps be a psychological sci-fi, as there is only small hints to the genre.
Release: This was released in the USA in March 2017.
Mother of Movies and Series Reviews (author) from Moreton Bay, Queensland on June 14, 2018:
Right on Kim
Kim on June 13, 2018:
Mother of Movies and Series Reviews (author) from Moreton Bay, Queensland on October 08, 2017:
While I don't agree with the sentiment you've given, these movies were adored by many people that I talk movies with, just not interesting in my opinion. In-fact, if you liked those I recommend 'A Ghost Story' (2017). I've been told it is a similar slow burn style which might be right up your alley.
Chris on October 08, 2017:
S##t list. "The Bad Batch" and "Here Alone" are good movies, but are not for everyone.
Mother of Movies and Series Reviews (author) from Moreton Bay, Queensland on October 06, 2017:
Heya Coffee Queen.
Thanks for reading. Don't avoid them on my account, these movies have been widely polarized in their reception among my my movie watching peers. Indie films are always unique. Sure these caused me to require a nap at times and take some passionate viewpoints but lots of viewers appreciated them for their face value-strippedback nature. Just not me haha
Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on October 04, 2017:
Well, I've not seen any of these. I don't think I'll bother! Thanks for sharing this, it was interesting to read!