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Bachelor Party In The Bungalow Of The Damned (2009)
Director: Brian Thomson

review by Mark West

Chuck (Joseph Riker) is about to get married to Michelle (Trina Analee) and for his bachelor party, his best friend Sammy (Gregg Aaron Greenberg) has lined up a house of an old school friend, Gordon (Joe Testa) in the glamorous Hamptons. Along with their other friends, Fish (Gelu Dan Rusu), and unpleasant slob Paulie (Sean Parker), they get kicked out of a bar (the bungalow they're heading for is cursed, apparently), take in the hot tub and try to decide what to do with themselves. Then three escorts/ strippers turn up...

This isn't a good film. The first clue is in the production entity, Brain Damage Films, who also inflicted Serum on an unsuspecting world (and me, as I reviewed it) and I should have kept away but I didn't. The second clue is that the opening credits list three executive producers, the key grip and stills photographer (same person), and the make-up team has a "gore, creature and special make-up effects" credit.

Joseph Riker tries hard, but he's obviously never acted before and the situation isn't helped by him sharing most of his screen-time with Greenberg, who isn't actually all that bad. The rest of the cast aren't on-screen enough to prove themselves, with Parker and Dan Rusu getting killed off very early on (pleasant for the audience, but giving lie to the title - for the most part, there are only ever three goodies, since Michelle joins the boys to tell them something important which we, the audience, never actually hear).

Ah yes, the three escorts/ strippers. Far be it from me to comment on a person's attractiveness but, seriously, they couldn't find anyone else... at all? Chuck says one of them is hot at one point, yet we've already seen his girlfriend. The three actresses then have to give a display of pole-dancing, five uninterrupted minutes of prime embarrassment both for them (none of them had received any obvious lessons) and the viewer (who just wants them to stop and retain a shred of dignity).

The three escorts, it turns out, are vampires who proceed to kill-off Paulie and Fish, but I'm not entirely sure how. They do turn into weird, acid-trip-like CGI characters at one point, but that isn't explored, and the gore effects - so touted in the opening credits - look like either rubber or papier m�ch� (Chuck brilliantly gets an inch long splinter in his finger at one point and pulls it out, in loving close-up, which highlights the effects work, certainly, but also the fact that his finger is clearly rubber and a completely different colour to his other digits). Chuck gets bitten, Sammy tries to help, Michelle turns up, Gordon (like a nervous Sam Raimi, in his white shirt and black tie) might be the master vampire and then... well, it pretty much ends.

Sometimes, with ultra-low-budget films - and this is certainly one of them - ladling out criticism almost feels like kicking someone when they're down, but hey, if you want to get people to part with money to watch something, then you need to be as professional as you possibly can. And this does, for the most part, try to make the best of its resources.

The acting is poor, but Greenberg does his best. The camerawork is perfunctory, often settling for the most obvious shots, but there are some nice stylistic touches (Fish's introduction, especially). Most of the film relies on natural lighting, with the night-time interiors looking yellow and sickly, and the night-time exteriors (shot day-for-night, by the looks of it) are too dark to really see anything at all.

The running time at 75 minutes means there's no real padding, though even at that length, a couple of scenes do start to drag. The biggest loser in all of this is the effects work, both CGI and practical, which don't work on their own or when blended. Blood is represented by what look like hundreds of Maltesers spraying into the air but it never touches anything and characters can walk where there should be a puddle of the stuff and not get anything on them.

The director redeems himself somewhat with the closing credits, where he makes the most of the fact that he didn't have much of a crew, filling positions with good-natured jobs (Office Assistant: the talking paperclip), and some witty quotes (the best, I thought, was "Repeat after me: gaps in continuity constitute the unconscious poetry of the cinema").

Not the worst film I've seen or reviewed lately, certainly not the worst Brain Damage film, but to willingly spend 75 minutes of your life watching this, you've got to love your B-movies!

The only extras on my screener were some trailers for other Brain Damage DVDs which I hope against all hope that I don't end up reviewing in 2010!

Bachelor Party in the Bungalow of the Damned



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