Welcome witches and warlocks,

Today I will be reviewing the British horror-comedy BACHELOR GAMES by director Edward McGown.  I will turn to the press release (with my own flourish) to best sum up the plot of this feature:

When five friends embark on a bachelor weekend in Argentina, everyone expects the usual hedonistic business.  They do not expect to find themselves stranded, wounded, and stalked through the Andes by a dark force called “The Hunter”.

When we think of bachelor parties, our minds often drift to thoughts of strippers and drinking. Rarely do we think of stag parties as being a placid setting free of debauchery.  In fact, we so often equate stag parties with immorality that when we hear of someone who does not follow that trend, we look at them as if they are somehow strange.

This is how Henry’s friends look at him when he decides that for his stag weekend, he wants to go hiking instead of giving into the familiar temptations.  This idea of sin or wrongdoing ends up being one of the central themes of this feature as The Hunter picks his prey based upon their transgressions.  Instead of making these transgressions obvious (sex, drugs, etc.) they sometime take a lesser form such as thievery making it hard to guess whose head might be next on the chopping block.

The kills themselves never focus on being gory, but instead are silently efficient which felt very appropriate for the character of the killer.  The Hunter stalks his prey with a bow and arrow, picking them off from a distance with calculated shots.  I respected the lack of gore in this feature as showing too much would have actually been a distraction from the themes and characters they were building.

Henry and his friends have an easy chemistry that made them relatable and quite a bit of fun to watch.  Whether quipping, whining, or arguing their humor was on-point which lead to some great quotable moments.  These earlier scenes were like a British version of THE HANGOVER that eschewed broad absurdity for clever one liners.

Sadly, the cleverness of a mid-movie development ends up being undercut by the first scene and most of the plot descriptions I could find.  Not knowing anything about this film before I saw it, I was able to figure out some of what was coming based upon the aforementioned opening.  Granted, knowing the development in advance does not ruin the overall feature, but it does take away some of the surprise of the first half.

All in all, this horror-comedy is interesting because it decided to dabble with some weighty themes.  While some of it is predictable or overly telegraphed, the subject matter was well executed and the characters were engaging.  I would recommend this to anyone looking for a horror-comedy that skews into a darker thematic territory.

BACHELOR GAMES will be available on VOD/Digital Release July 8, 2016.

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