Have you ever been traumatized so badly by a film that you try to avoid anything and everything that even remotely reminds you of it in the tiniest bit? That’s exactly how I feel about The Bunny Game. I’m not traumatized because the film was ‘so shocking,’ like many articles have claimed, but because the damn thing was so awful, painful to sit through really. That is why any film even mentioning the word ‘game’ in the title immediately turns me off. I was able to finally put that aside, however, and give Joshua Wagner and Thomas Zambeck’s The Badger Game a try.
Alex (Augie Duke) is devastated to learn that her recent boyfriend, Liam (Sam Boxleitner), is actually married and has a family, and has also been having affairs with other women in addition to her. To get even, she has devised a plan to kidnap the bastard and blackmail him for one million dollars. She’s not alone in this badger game, however. Alex has managed to talk her brother, Kip (Patrick Cronen), her best friend, Shelly (Jillian Leigh), and another one of Liam’s mistresses, Jane (Sasha Higgins), into joining in on her grand scheme. Unfortunately, things don’t quite go as planned and now the group must figure out what exactly the best way to get out of this thing clean really is.
It rarely happens, but sometimes it is kind of hard to place a film into a particular genre. That seems to be the case with The Badger Game. It isn’t quite a horror film, per-say; I wouldn’t even really classify it as a thriller either. I feel the best way to describe the script by the duo who also directed the film, Joshua Wagner and Thomas Zambeck, is by calling it a ‘darkly comedic heist movie gone wrong.’ Again, it doesn’t heavily lean towards comedy, but there are certainly some comedic undertones and one could perhaps get a chuckle out of the situation, as it unfolds before their eyes.
Just because The Badger Game isn’t necessarily a horror film does not mean that it doesn’t have its darker moments. There are a few deaths to account for in the 99 minute film and things do get rather bloody at certain points, as well. Any horror fan that checks this one out will definitely be able to get their jollies off at least a few times thanks to some pretty great practical special effects. They aren’t used very often in this one, but if you keep your eyes to the action and don’t lose focus on the film, you will be rewarded. The characters introduced are tested more than once throughout their ordeal, as things definitely do not go as planned, pretty much right from the start of it all.
Badger features a great cast of actors, which seems to be getting more rare in indie films these days. I always go into low-budget independent flicks with hesitation, as most readers know by now, but I was able to breathe a sigh of relief once I realized that the casting department did a wonderful job choosing the right performers to round out this cast. Everyone from the group of schemers — Augie Duke, Patrick Cronen, Jillian Leigh, and Sasha Higgins — to the captor himself — Sam Boxleitner — did a wonderful job with their perspective roles, coming together naturally on screen. There seemed to be real chemistry between them, proving that the intimate setting of an indie flick is sometimes more effective than a huge studio production.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when going in to The Badger Game, but I was pleasantly surprised. I recommend it to genre fans and think that it’s definitely a good idea to keep your eyes on both directors, who seem to know exactly what they are doing. The Badger Game is out now on Blu-ray from Intervision.
This one gets 3 gardening tools out of 5 from yours truly.