After Ana Lily Amirpour’s critically acclaimed feature-length debut, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, cinephiles were waiting in anticipation to see what the visionary writer-director would come up with next. That’s when she came up with THE BAD BATCH, a dystopian story about a group of outcasts and society rejects exiled to live in the the rotting wasteland of Texas. True to form, Amirpour puts her own twist on things. There’s a group of outcast cannibals living among the outcasts, which makes living a bit more difficult on the ravaged sandy terrain.
The film centers on Samantha (Suki Waterhouse), who is new to the exiled land. As soon as she arrives, she has an encounter with the cannibalistic cult and is immediately captured. In a series of gag-worthy events (which I will get to later), she eventually escapes with the help of a drifter (a very unrecognizable Jim Carrey) to a, supposedly, safe haven. There, a man named Rockwell (Keanu Reeves) rules with a female militia of Katharine Hamnett T shirt-wearing soldiers at his side and an on-call DJ (Diego Luna) that plays EDM music for the masses from what looks like a set piece from a Deadmau5 concert.
Samantha aims for revenge against the cannibals, but in a turn of events, she ends up caring for a little girl who happens to be the daughter of the most badass cannibal of them all: Aquaman, er, I mean Joe (Jason Momoa). When Samantha takes the little girl back to the safe haven, the Dream takes a liking to her and keeps her as his own. On a drug trip, Samantha wanders the desert and encounters Joe — who is out searching for his daughter, naturally. The two don’t hit off so well, but one thing leads to another and he threatens her life if she doesn’t take him to his little girl. The result is a mad-capped travel buddy romp through the desert wasteland of Texas.
Actually, The Bad Batch is not a romp nor is it a travel buddy comedy. It may be a little mad-capped considering within the first 10 minutes of the film, we are introduced to a brutal scene of cannibalism and a vomit-inducing moment that involves human excrement. Needless to say, if you have a weak constitution, you might want to pass on this film.
The Bad Batch has the makings of another provocative hit for Amirpour, but it ultimately fails to impress. Amirpour pushes the envelope with the fascinating idea of a dystopian fairy tale, but the film ends up being Burning Man meets Mad Max with a gruesome dose of cannibalism. The movie has enjoyably demented elements and a talented cast, but the story doesn’t have enough meat on the bone for us to gnaw on (so to speak). Instead, we are left with shock and awe and nothing else.
Running time: 118 minutes
Dino-Ray Ramos watches too much TV, enjoys reality singing competitions and laughs inappropriately during dramatic films. He’s a fan of comedy, podcasts, and comedy podcasts. He’s a reformed comic book geek and thinks “The Goonies” is the best movie of all time. When he isn’t stuffing his face with a burrito, he’s thinking about his next trip to Disneyland.
Dino-Ray Ramos | Staff Writer