Taking the found footage style, inspired by Paranormal Activity and keeping it really simple, Bad Ben is a nice surprise. A nice surprise for those who have been ground down by the constant slew of lazy and unwatchable found footage horrors.
A one-man show, Bad Ben was directed and stars Nigel Bach. He plays Tom Riley, a man who thinks he has the deal of a lifetime when he buys a house below market value at a Sheriff’s sale. He has sunk all his money into it and plans to ‘flip’ it for a nice profit.
His excitement is infectious and he decides to document the entire process but when the house seems to have intruders coming and going, his dream begins to turn into a nightmare. Tom decides to install surveillance cameras around the house/ All in the hope of capturing the people breaking in but what he actually discovers is something much more wicked and paranormal.
An unoriginal idea is fine. There’s not much left to do in horror anyway. It’s not a problem to take something we’ve seen time and time again as long as it is well done. Bad Ben is a well-done horror with some well-built tension, a solid payoff and a few decent scares here and there.
Although it doesn’t begin strongly, it really ramps things up revealing more and more parts of the mystery until almost everything has been answered.
The surveillance camera shtick has been done to death but it’s a far more watchable kind of found-footage. I’ll take static camera’s over shaky handheld imagery every single day and Bad Ben makes good use of the many cameras it has.
It can be subtle but it also isn’t afraid to shove the ghostly/goings-on down throats either. The balance isn’t always perfect but for the most part Bad Ben gets it right. Even the acting can’t really be faulted as Nigel Bach plays such a normal guy, he may not actually be acting at all.
That does mean his character is a little bland but it’s hardly a problem, he’s just an everyday guy. Except for one major flaw…he takes the paranormal stuff in his stride. He genuinely seems to see a lot of it as an inconvenience and nothing else.
If you can overlook its flaws and look past the tag of found footage what you’ll find is a decent little horror flick. One that certainly deserves more credit then most get within the ailing sub-genre of horror.
- The Final Score - 6/106/10