These guys work quick, and I’m happy that they are so good to me! I announced BASTARD to all of our indie horror readers on February 6th as the feature film inspired by classics like The Burning and Halloween was nearing the end of post-production. Two weeks later they gifted me with the official one-sheet and an exclusive still. Now, three weeks later, I was included in the first round of reviewers provided with the movie’s screener. I was more than happy to watch and review, so here’s my thoughts having seen it in full!
BASTARD is written and directed by Patrick Robert Young and Powell Robinson. Cast members include Dan Creed, Ellis Greer, Rebekah Kennedy (Creature), Will Tranfo, Burt Culver, Bobby T., Scott Vance (“Passions”), Micah Fitzgerald, Emily Lopato, Ryan Shoos, and Tonya Kay (Dark Space). Cinematography was performed by Ryan Hendrickson with special effects by Lauren Bencomo, Taylor Berez, Hannah Sherer, Powell, and Whitney Banks, and original scores from Kyle Hnedak. The film follows three interlocking groups of personalities as they take up residence in a bed and breakfast while trying to escape all of their personal, psychological, and emotional demons. Little do they know, an even bigger threat is closer than they think!
I’d first like to offer the same advice that I offer many filmmakers going forth into the world of cinema without a huge studio backing them: make sure your promotional materials are sharp. The official one-sheet is a throwback to old school horror. It’s good, but it’s not eye catching. The short synopsis listed for BASTARD makes it sound like it’s going to be a horror-comedy, which I completely expected it to be. In reality, BASTARD is a solid and intriguing horror film that deserves to be seen. I have no doubt that it will get a distribution deal in the near future, but I’d hate to see anyone pass it up because of misbranding.
The second thing I’d like to do is rave about the actors featured within BASTARD, especially Ellis Greer. I’m pleased that the casting department put such a great deal of effort into finding quality actors because it shows dedication to the project and not only that, the actors are one of the biggest selling points here and really helped to “bring it all home.” Of course my favorites are the core four – Creed, Greer, Kennedy, and Tranfo – but I genuinely believe that Ellis Greer is going to be the breakaway star. She is so talented. I can’t even put into words how much I enjoyed her performance in BASTARD, and oddly enough I’m pissed off that she isn’t doing more in the horror genre! I want to see more of her and I don’t think it’ll be long until she’s a huge star. So, the BASTARD crew should feel lucky to be her introduction to what I’m sure will be an amazing career in Hollywood.
Let me not forget to mention the special effects department, too. That’s why I made sure to mention the two artists above. Another huge selling point is going to be the special effects. BASTARD is not a torture porn, it’s not a bloodbath, but when it whips out the gore (and the giant purple dildos… yeah…) they are simply exquisite and realistic. The blood was the perfect shade of red, the organs and other parts of the human body were shaped correctly, there weren’t any bad edges to the prosthetics. Just really good special effects at work. I mean, damn, at one point a character gets a hammer to their temple and they even went as far as to damage the eyeball and surrounding area near the impact wound. That’s major attention to detail and something that should be applauded!
All of this could not have been possible without Patrick Robert Young and Powell Robinson. These two gentlemen just graduated from USC in 2014 and I am blown away by their creativity, drive, and professionalism. They made a masterpiece here, and honestly, they created a quality product that people with 10+ years in the business have trouble achieving. I hope that they continue to work together in the future because I believe they could be one of the next big things in horror in the next few years. I feel a sense of pride for them, which doesn’t make sense because I don’t know them at all. I think part of that is because, as an independent horror reviewer, I love seeing a fresh crop of talented individuals pulling off the impossible in my favorite genre of film. They made something so enthralling, seriously enthralling. I watched a half hour of BASTARD, took a break to watch “Face Off” and “iZombie,” and came back to BASTARD right after and it still held my attention. I think it was because of the quirky characters but regardless… Just wow. I loved it.
BASTARD is a triumph for independent horror. A breath of fresh air in a dying subgenre of horror. Cleverly written and well acted, BASTARD is gory and intriguing and will be a favorable part of anyone’s movie collection. Packed with old school horror techniques but unique in its storytelling, BASTARD is the best dramatic slasher film I’ve seen this year. Greer steals the show amongst a character driven storyline with a creeptastic killer. I can’t stop raving about this. It’ll definitely be one of the titles I’ll try to push to you guys in the future.
FINAL RATING: 9.2 out of 10