I thought I was watching a seriocomic, slyly tongue-in-cheek spoof of teen slasher movies at first, but it eventually dawned on me that BIG BAD (Indican Pictures, 2016) is a full-blown, willfully silly horror comedy, and if it looks like it's having trouble being subtle about this, it's because it has absolutely no intention of being subtle about anything. Which, after finally getting into it, I was totally okay with.
It starts out with some teens getting drunk around a campfire, telling campfire stories. Some of them go off into the woods, encounter a mysterious and terrifying creature, and die in a way that will become yet another campfire story.
Then, a full sixteen minutes into the movie, the main titles begin, and they're the fancy kind that look like they cost as much as the rest of the movie combined.
The rest of the story is increasingly harrowing, with the monster always just one step behind them as they escape their jail cells and flee into the woods, and increasingly funny as these stock teen-movie characters--Donny the jock (Cameron Deane Stewart, BAD KIDS GO TO HELL, "Aquarius"), Chase the airhead cheerleader who's Donny's on-again, off-again girlfriend (Ainsley Bailey), and Crystal the smart girl with a crush on Donny (Madeline Thelton) --get funnier and more endearing the more we get to know them.
With the creature (which they decide must be a werewolf) still hot on their heels, the terrified teens seek shelter in an old cotton gin along with plucky lady cop Deputy Marcus (Hannah Bryan). It's here that the exciting final confrontation with the "big bad" beast occurs, and while the comedy keeps on coming, this finale actually manages to be more suspenseful than the ones in many of the more serious horror flicks of this kind that I've had to sit through over the years.
Even ditzy cheerleader Chase's constant jabbering manages to be funny without getting too annoying, while at one point the town sheriff (Clint Carmichael) is allowed a memorably heroic line before sacrificing his life for the others: "Tell campfire stories about me!"
On the minus side--at times the very busy score tends to be either overbearing or cutesy, although there are also several moments in which it's quite effective as well. That's about it. Oh, and before I forget to mention it, the creature suit is outstanding.
At first I was making a mental list of things I didn't like about this movie, but they faded away as I started to get what it was going for, and it just kept winning me over...and over...and over. (Even the closing credits are freakin' hilarious.) BIG BAD isn't the best horror comedy ever made, but it sure left me with a big goofy grin on my face.
Buy it at Amazon.com
Genre: Family, Horror Thriller