Edward McGown’s debut feature film Bachelor Games follows a group of
boisterous lads who head off into the Argentina Mountains for a stag-do but end
up being picked off by a mysterious force called the ‘The Hunter’.
McGown, who’s CV mostly consists of camera
work for Sir David Attenborough, shows off his talent for filming natural
locations with extraordinary depth. The setting is gorgeous and intimidatingly isolated
a perfect setting for this kind of story. Even the few shady interiors we see are really
nicely shot (and eerily designed) as to give stark and ominous contrast to the
sunny paradise of the mountains. Composer
David Julyan, known for work on The
Cabin in the Woods and The Descent,
provides a subtle, but tonally perfect soundtrack which knows exactly when to
get us worked up.
McGown deserves credit for skilfully
navigating a story that could have ended up a dismal mess of predictable
thrills. As a horror Bachelor Games
isn’t quite scary or intense enough, and it doesn’t push the boat out on its
potential black comedy angle either. What it does do well is provide a sequence of reveals which turn a group of
fun-loving pals into an anonymous gang of potential problems. Tension and
disappointment come from knowing the guys before we see them lose their cool.
the film starts to embrace its horror side a bit more, McGown knows the audience
will figure it out, so at the half-way mark turns the film on its head,
revealing the true nature of the threat and the web of deceit that permitted
it. It’s a bold move and shows a desire to step beyond what could have been a
simple monster flick. It also shows that McGown can actually create characters
we will care for, even if they have a tendency to be total arseholes.
McGown’s debut feature is actually a really
funny story when you think about it, but something gets lost in translation.
There’s perhaps too much reluctance to properly paint all of its characters as
bastards, or at least regard the scenario as hilariously unfortunate. The final
moments don’t help either, delivering a soppy round-up rather than a nastier,
more fitting full-stop, but it doesn’t ruin this enjoyable horror adventure
BACHELOR GAMES / DIRECTOR AND SCREENPLAY: EDWARD MCGOWN / STARRING: CHARLIE BEWLEY, JACK GORDON, JACK DOOLAN, MIKE NOBLE, OBI ABILI / RELEASE DATE: JULY 8TH