On the twenty-third day of Halloween: THE BAD BATCH (2016)
Directed by Ana Lily Amirpour, The Bad Batch (2016) is the polar opposite vibe as her other outsider horror movie Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon. In The Bad Batch, the ragtag cast of characters are in a struggle of personal survival that leads them to exploit their weirdo peers in the most wretched ways, including cannibalism and cult membership.
As The Dream, Keanu Reeves is an amalgam of Jim Jones and Hugh Hefner, with an army of very pregnant and gun-toting brainwashed young women who do his every creepy bidding. The Dream leads an outpost called Comfort that offers anything but, as newcomer and cannibal survivor sans one leg and arm Arlen (Suki Waterhouse) makes her new home. This is the opposite of the kind of cult we’d expect from Keanu.
One thing I’ve come to especially love about Ana Lily Amirpour’s twisted visions is they never look the same. Instead of the noir vibe of A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night and New Orleans’ Bourbon Street technicolor madness of Mona Lisa, we have the sepia tones of a desert wasteland as these social pariahs find odd allies amid complicated and shocking interpersonal dynamics. The underlying social commentary about criminality and punishment in the United States is subtle, but powerful if you know to look for it.
✨Miel/5 stars. Highly recommend not doing acid in the desert when you’re starving. ✨