April 28, 2020 Cry for the Bad Man (Movie Review)
It is hard to find people who have a grey zone opinion on 1978’s I Spit on Your Grave. The rape-revenge Horror-Slasher is either loved or loathed. Many viewers fell into the former, producing a market for a 2010 remake that got two sequels of its own. Others, especially the film critics at the time, fell into the latter, with Roger Ebert saying it was “…without a shred of artistic distinction” and “despicable.” Still, the film’s notoriety made its legacy, and made a cult icon out of its Lead Actress Camille Keaton (What Have You Done to Solange? 1972, Savage Vengeance 1993).
Now, Uncork’d Entertainment brings Keaton, along with intimidation and retribution, back on the menu with Cry for the Bad Man, which arrives to DVD and digital platforms on May 5, 2020.
Written and directed by Sam Farmer (Veer! 2012, Girl of My Dreams 2013), the film covers a grieving widow named Marsha Kane (Keaton). While she is grieving for her late husband in isolation, she receives an ultimatum from Wayne MacMohan (Scott Peeler: Manifesto 2012) and his brothers: she has 24-hours to sell her property to them or else. With no help from her small town’s corrupt local deputy (Victor Jones: The Devil Incarnate 2013, In Search of Liberty 2017), Kane has no choice but to take care of things herself.
So, how is it? Well, despite the I Spit on Your Grave comparison, the film is more like 1971’s Straw Dogs, where locals besiege and attack someone who looks like an easy target; only Straw Dogs built up to its bloody climax as its protagonist found his steel. Keaton’s Kane is already a tough customer, despite what the MacMohans think, so the film does not take long to get into the action. Once it does, it mixes up who is playing the cat or the mouse. Considering the title, cover, and Keaton’s casting, Kane was unlikely to be a shrinking violet.
Beyond that, the film does what it says on the tin: it sticks to tense violence and continues that way. Even softer scenes get a stern counterbalance that takes that gentle side off things. Not that it lacks restraint. The film does build up to its violent clashes through effective use of conflict, music, and some sly camera shots. It is not all gunfire-based amputations and buckets of blood, though what is on show is grisly enough. Said limb-removal looks quite good on camera, though it is hard to make a wrapped-up hand looked like a bandaged stump.
The acting is not exactly Royal Shakespeare Company stuff, or even HBO stuff, but each actor does a solid job in their role. Keaton is suitably tough as nails and tired of everyone’s mess, and Karen Konzen (Thunder 2016, Box 2017) plays Kane’s daughter, Helen, as a chip off the old block. Ultimately, the big villain of the piece steals the show. Peeler’s Wayne is a suitably slimy piece of work, combining ruthlessness with smug self-assurance. One almost wants him to go through more snarky lines before hoping he gets what he deserves. That or see him play off his brothers Derrek (Eric Dooley: Parapsychology 101 2012) and Billy (Christopher James Forrest: Girl of my Dreams 2013) some more.
That said, if one is expecting Cry for the Bad Man to have more twists and turns in it, then they are barking up the wrong tree; they are more like gentle bends as the brothers occasionally get the upper hand. Otherwise, it is a simple Action-Thriller for people who just want to see Keaton give someone gun-ishment. The film’s drama, while not high-end, is solid enough to carry the violence, and it keeps the pacing up for its 70-minute runtime. It will do if one is after a quick, bloody ride, but for anything more than that, there are better options. Thus, for these reasons, Cryptic Rock gives this film 3 out of 5 stars.