By Last Caress.
Bachelor Games tells the tale of Henry (Jack Gordon), who is getting married. By way of a stag do, he’s going hiking in the Argentinian Andes with his womanizing best man Leon (Charlie Bewley) and two of their closest pals, the bragadocious, well-heeled Terence (Jack Doolan) and the under-the-thumb nurse, Roy (Mike Noble). Meeting them there is Henry’s ex-forces buddy Max (Obi Abili), an American veteran of Afghanistan still struggling with what he’s seen out there, and done.
In the hotel the night before their hike begins, the hotel proprietor warns them – jokingly of course – that they may well encounter “The Hunter” on their travails; an accursed spirit who’d had his own head ripped off by dogs, roaming the Andes, executing all those with darkness in their hearts. Brr! Well, do our intrepid friends indeed encounter The Hunter? It’s no spoiler to inform you that yes, they do. But under precisely what circumstances, I shall not say. Not everything is entirely as it seems here. And what sort of a stag do is a hiking trip up The Andes, anyway?
Bachelor Games (previously entitled Rules of the Game when it was made in 2014, which for me works just as well) is the long-form fiction debut for director Edward McGown, but his camerawork on various David Attenborough projects really pays dividends here as Bachelor Games is wonderful to look at, shot as it is in a location as beautiful and hostile as The Andes. His principals are all very good in their roles with particular praise going to Jack Gordon as Henry, the loved-up groom-to-be; and the design for Bachelor Games’ Big Bad – The Hunter – is both awesome and creepy.
It’s not perfect. Whilst the principal cast all do well with what they have, the characterizations don’t all appear to have been fleshed out on the page as well as they maybe could’ve been. Obi Abili’s twitchy military vet Max seems a bit undercooked; I was left unsure as to the point of his being in the movie. And Jack Doolan channels the spirit of Danny Dyer through the body of James Corden for his part as lovable loudmouth Terence, which is fine until the movie tersely switches gear from a “Brits Abroad” comedy romp a la The Inbetweeners 2 to a spartan cat-and-mouse thriller. Also, the motivation for these lads being out here in the middle of nowhere, made clear roughly halfway through the movie (and it’s NOT because of a stag-do. Oh no) seems… well, a tad daft if I’m honest, although in fairness this is acknowledged by one of the lads immediately. And lads ARE daft, of course.
But I’m nitpicking, really.
Bachelor Games is a smart and efficient thriller. It’s humorous, it’s tense, it’s well-acted and it’s well worth ninety minutes of anybody’s time.
Bachelor Games is available on iTunes from July 8th, 2016.
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