Like most who have made it all the way to the seventh instalment of Nigel Bach’s Bad Ben series, I rolled my eyes upon seeing the premise for this entry. Having seen an alright film turn into a franchise with bad sequel after bad sequel, there really wasn’t much reason to get excited here.
However, it’s a pleasure to be wrong.
Not only is Bad Ben 7: The Haunted Highway an alright movie, it’s arguably the best since Bach debuted the series back in 2016. You can read our review of the series so far below.
Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t winning any awards anytime soon but when you’re so used to seeing the same rehashed stuff. With diminishing returns every time, anything different is going to be like an ice cold glass of water on a hot summer’s day.
Although a little haphazard at times, the story of Bad Ben 7: The Haunted Highway is immeasurably more interesting as it takes the action out of the house. Finally, we’re free of that damn house although we will re-enter it briefly later in the movie.
Tom Riley is back and this time he’s an Uber driver. Well, not Uber obviously but DROPUOFF and on Halloween night he’s got some very strange fares to ferry around. A clever idea that doesn’t quite realise its potential. As it tries a little too much to fixate on the events of Steelmanville Road rather then be its own thing.
It makes you wonder how Bach would fare if he genuinely put his mind to expanding his horror universe with different stories. It’s not like the man hasn’t got talent and he could probably make these kinds of movies in his sleep. Once again found footage, this time the camera work comes from dash cameras and body cameras that Riley wears.
Nothing of note here, it’s very familiar but still a welcome change from the same static house cameras we’re used too in this series.
Most of the film takes place in the car of Tom Riley as he meets a myriad of characters who all seem to want to go to the same place. The house on Steelmanville Road, something that constantly confounds him. That’s a cool idea, unfortunately dropped midway by the film revealing its hand far too early for some reason.
An expanded cast also helps give Bad Ben 7: The Haunted Highway a fresher feel. While not the first to include more characters then Riley, it’s nice to see him share screen time with others. Although, you won’t be surprised to know he is still the focus. As unlikable and obnoxious as always, his deadpan delivery peppered with a lot of swearing is very realistic. We’d be lying if we didn’t say we felt a little attached to the surly fella by now.
There hasn’t been a Bad Ben in a long time that could be called ‘scary’ or even ‘chilling’ and The Haunted Highway is no different. However, once again credit has to be given for the occasional good idea. One such idea here involves shoes and while it’s not scary, it’s effectively done.
After so many horrible retreads, it’s a genuine pleasure to go into this movie expecting the same and coming away surprised. Bad Ben 7: The Haunted Highway is a re-energised Nigel Bach, finally bringing something fresh to the franchise. Hopefully this continues into Bad Ben 8.
Bad Ben 7: The Haunted Highway
The Final Score - 6/10