September 26, 2018 | ° F

The Big Bad

Bryan Enk's and Jessi Gotta's gore-ridden revenge tale, The Big Bad, has as much in common with the story of Little Red Riding Hood as Larry the Cable Guy has with Peter O'Toole. This violently gritty contribution to the New Jersey International Film Festival will have viewers perched on the edge of their seats, wincing at many of the grotesque scenes while simultaneously drawing them to the story and the plight of the main character.

Frankie (Jessi Gotta), the fiery heroine of the film, is in the city in search of a mysterious man named Carter. Her sleuthing eventually leads her to a shady bar where she meets Molly (Jessica Savage), a short-tempered, street-smart young woman. The two of them hit it off, drink together, swap stories and of course indulge in copious amounts of cocaine in true-blue rock 'n' roll fashion. Things take a turn for the "outlandish" after Frankie inquires about Carter, and Molly reluctantly shares her own tale of her encounter with this "beastly" man. What follows is a bloody journey of discovery, enlightenment and revenge that will have our heroine quite bruised and battered to say the least.

The Big Bad is not for the squeamish. This splatter film's over-the-top gore will appease blood-thirsty movie-goers. From eye gougings to melting monsters who spray all forms of bodily bile, this movie is never fails to walk the line of absurd, indulgent violence. Despite all this, the way the plot is slowly unraveled and bits and pieces of Frankie's backstory are unearthed throughout the films progression is a real pull factor for viewers. Viewers will find themselves entranced by the mysteries clouding the main character and eager to join Frankie on her journey of discovery.

The cinematography of The Big Bad is commendable. Many of the scenes are filmed in a shaky camera fashion, with fog and mist clouding the surrounding, which really gives parts of the film a Sin City-meets-Taxi Driver feel. One of the initial scenes where Frankie converses with Molly in the seedy bar is filled with such tension and raw emotional acting that the hyperrealism almost feels surreal.

While this film sometimes teeters on the brink of ridiculousness in regard to the plot, it thoroughly compensates with action and memorable filmmaking.

Alex Natanzon

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