Avid readers of Movement Magazine recently may be aware that I did my first prerelease piece on a local film- this would be the thriller Cry for the Bad Man. In my experiences preparing for the article, I was able to reach out to the directors and even the star Ms. Camille Keaton- so much so that I was able to meet them in person at a private screening of the film. Not only was this my first encounter with such an event, it was the first time I had the chance to interact with the cast and crew involved in production fully, and for that experience I’ll always be thankful. But enough sentimental talk- how is the movie itself?
I must confess: I’m not really into the thriller and horror genres as much as some other people. But still, there’s a time and place to be on the edge of your seat. And frankly, I’d rather be there during a screening of Cry for the Bad Man than some of the modern thrillers that you see in theaters. The reason for this is quite clear: a full understanding of what makes up a good thriller film and proper usage of these tropes.
I think that for what it is, Cry for the Bad Man is a solid thriller film- and therein lies what makes it so strong. The film is well aware of the types of tropes that make up the genre and uses them to great effect. Taking what is well-understood in terms of a genkrnme and making slight adjustments is how a strong story is developed- and this one delivers in spades. With a talented actress in the lead and clever use of the available budget, the film is a good example of how independent films can match or even surpass those that make it onto the big screen.
The film is, as mentioned in the pre-screening interview, a tale of home invasion and pressure gone horribly awry: when a small-town widow (played by scream queen Camille Keaton) is pressured to sell her cherished house by the sons of a local tycoon, they resort to threatening the old lady with an ultimatum: give up the place or be forced out. With the threat looming above her and everybody else in the town in the tycoon’s pocket, she decides to take matters into her own hands: arming herself with a shotgun and pistol, the widow lies in wait for the thugs, preparing to give them an unexpected surprise during their late-night shakedown visit. The result is a suspenseful standoff set in close quarters, full of high-tension scenes and surprises.
A combination of strong casting (Camille Keaton is no stranger to this type of role) quick and graphic scenes, and attention to detail is what sets this film apart from typical thrillers. A lot of the strength in the film comes from its sense of tension, which makes it much less of a straightforward horror-based thriller and more of something that Tarantino would direct- a suspense-driven film with quiet moments and quick, effective bursts of action.
Although the movie does face a few problems, which are admittedly nitpicks from me- some of the sound can be a bit loud and jarring at times, and the lighting, while intentionally dark, can still make the expressions and movement of the characters difficult to see. But overall, Cry for the bad Man comes off as a strong production with a good cast and plot, and is worth a watch to any thriller fan.
by Brendan Rodenberg
for MOVEMENT Magazine