Bachelor Games Film Review

   I'm quite certain that each of the male readers of this post will have been there - caught in a moment on a Stag Do when you realise everything has gone just a little bit awry. What may have begun as an evening full of well natured hi-jinx and jocular japes ends up a million miles from anything which could be described as "fun". Laddish banter gets replaced by an air of foreboding menace and everybody hates one another with alcohol-powered intensity. The stag, dressed as a human hot dog, has just tried to headbutt a gargantuan bouncer, one who is as wide as he is tall. Tears and beer-stains have ruined our specially-printed #StagSquad T-shirts and no one can remember the way back to the Newcastle Premier Inn we're all staying at.

    Bachelor Games , the latest film by Edward McGown, takes the worst stag story you can think of and multiplies the terror exponentially. What's the worst thing that could happen? Well, since you asked, quite a lot actually....

   The movie, one which is coincidentally structured very similarly to this year's found footage biblical horror JeruZalem , focuses on the tale of some very laddish lads as they take a bachelor weekend in the mountains of Argentina. If, like me, South American mountain ranges immediately remind you of the cannibal-survival film Alive , then the setting alone is enough to get one's blood pumping full of dread. Yet, as we see, the horror here permeates from a lot more than just the location.

   Our five would-be heroes begin their weekend as one may suspect the majority of these get-aways do. Copious beer, strippers and testosterone-fuelled aggression power the quintet through their first night of debauchery. It is the next day, however, when everything truly begins to unwind. McGown reveals to us the true nature of the relationships within the group, the underlying lies, jealousy and secrets which hold them together and equally threatens to tear them apart. The group are put at further risk with the introduction of an unexpected evil which puts their very lives at risk. If you think dealing with a stag-inflicted hangover is terrible, try adding a supernatural element known as "The Hunter" to the mix too.

   The film winningly takes a recognisable handful of characters, ones who speak to each other with Inbetweeners-esque language, and puts them in a rather alien situation. Whilst the fivesome have previously used their wiles and wits to primarily find creative ways in insulting one another, the crew are soon drawing on survival instincts they didn't know they had. The desperation of the situation challenges each of them to grow up and confront the literal and figurative demons which exist among them. Its a quite clever metaphor which is, pleasingly, not hammered home.

   Whilst there are a few far-fetched plot devices, such as the reason for the crew making their way to the isolated wilderness for the "celebrations", Bachelor Games is a generally well-constructed and shot slow burning, if not overly substantial, thriller. Although this writer preferred the early, character-driven scenes in the movie - in which we get to meet our protagonists - horror aficionados will equally find enjoyment here in the manner in which numerous genres and genre references cross-pollinate in front of an aesthetically pleasing backdrop.

Bachelor Games is available on iTunes from 8th July

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