Grifting, sounds like the coolest 70’s “job” you could have, but in recent years it seems to be a hard profession to keep up with given technology and general scam awareness. The Badger Game focuses on a modern group of grifters, trying to take advantage of a wealthy guy, and of course everything goes wrong in much the way you might expect for a movie set in the new millennium. What comes off as a serious attempt to shock the audience with plenty of torturous moments that seem to come straight out an Eli Roth picture really plays out like a sad bastard comedy that won’t leave you feeling like you just made the score of the century. Intervision is distributing The Badger Game on Blu-ray which is a well-produced movie, but I’m afraid a film that fails to be as funny or as vicious as it would need to be to succeed.
The Badger Game is sad in a way. I mean it wouldn’t be said if it were as funny as it tried to be, if anyone could care about the jokes being dropped to remove the seriousness from this soft torture porn film. You’ll hate everyone within fifteen minutes of starting the movie which really creates a dilemma. You have to pick someone to root for and you can’t. The victim is a completely dick. The captors are inept but not in a Keystone Cops, bumbling way. They just do things incorrectly, sometimes to the detriment of their own scheme, denying themselves the satisfaction of the grift.
You almost hope The Badger Game is going to play out like a Tales from the Crypt episode, but unfortunately you don’t get that comedy, the brutality or the charisma (no Cryptkeeper of course). The masks worn by the captors aren’t scary. They aren’t funny. They are used ineffectively.
I’m afraid I cannot recommend this movie as a work of Horror, but there are moments of comedy that breakthrough and there are enough twists and turns to keep you thinking.
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Written and directed by Thomas Zambeck and Joshua Wagner (Mimesis), The Badger Game is a twisted tale about infidelity and extortion, taking viewers on a harrowing journey, galvanized by wicked humor, violence, lust, suspense and unprecedented levels of cynicism.
Liam (Sam Boxleitner) is a successful advertising executive with money to burn and a healthy appetite for infidelity. Alex (Augie Duke) is his scorned mistress, hell-bent on revenge against the married man who wronged her. At first, the plan seemed simple: take Liam hostage and threaten to expose his indiscretion, lest he pay a healthy sum of money. But Alex knows she can’t do it alone. Enter her unhinged brother Kip (Patrick Cronen), exotic dancer Jane (Sasha Higgins), and desperate wallflower Shelly (Jillian Leigh). With the table set and the team in place, Liam soon finds himself held against his will - his perfect world about to crumbl. Forced to reckon with four mysterious captors and impossible odds, his only hope is to turn the quartet against each other and make it through the night alive.