It is important to me to provide comprehensive content warnings, but you should always trust yourself when deciding whether or not to watch a movie. Horror movies are meant to push you to the edge of your comfort zone, and that is one of the reasons why I love the genre so much. You can always expect frightening imagery, loud noises, scenes of intense peril, and gore even in the smallest amounts. If you have any questions, I am always happy to talk about movies.
animals in peril (used for food)
The Bad Batch (2016)
Directed by Ana Lily Amirpour
Starring Jason Momoa
Runtime: 1 hr 58min
Filmed entirely on location
What if all these things that happened to us happened to us so the next things that gonna happen to us can happen to us?
I heard about The Bad Batch because my sister told me not to watch it. I didn’t heed her advice, and now here we are. The genre that Wikipedia has listed for The Bad Batch is romantic black comedy horror-thriller. I don’t know what that means, and the movie doesn’t either. The Bad Batch suffers from an interesting concept that went on vacation after about 30 minutes. That’s not a good sign for a movie that is 2 minutes short of 2 hours.
The easiest bone to pick is that it is incredibly overcast. The Bad Batch has Jason Momoa with an inexcusable Cuban accent, Keanu Reeves with a killer porn mustache, and Jim Carrey…. who says nothing. No, really. Jim Carrey, one of the greatest comedic actors ever, says nothing for the whole movie. Now, he acts the shit out of his role as a sun addled hermit which makes it weird when the most compelling character only has minutes of screen time and, again, says nothing. Keanu Reeves does what he can as a charismatic leader that has a personal army of well-armed pregnant women. It is a weird character, that’s for sure. OH! And Giovanni Ribisi and Diego Luna are in it too. That’s the same amount of thought and development their characters received.
That brings us to Jason Momoa as the Cuban born, Miami raised, cannibal king, Miami Man. And… meh? Is that a valid reaction? I can’t blame it on Momoa, the character is weird and undeveloped. There is a moment at the end where I had a tiny bit of hope that he’d actually have some motivations or something, but then he changes his mind because his daughter wants spaghetti? I can’t even describe it.
And now you are sitting there going “Ok, Lisa… you’re avoiding talking about someone.. come on.” FINE! The female -tagonist (I can’t call her pro- or an- because honestly the depth of her character is a puddle), Arlen, is woodenly played by Suki Waterhouse. While it can’t entirely be put on her, the model cum accessories designer cum actress doesn’t do the flimsy character any favors. It’s not good, guys… it’s just not good.
Well, now that is over with, let’s get to my favorite part: Making fun of the plot!
We open on someone going through a processing point of some kind. We’ve got numbers and the words bad batch thrown around, the most we ever learn about what that means is from reading a giant warning sign. Apparently, ‘bad batches’ are shoved out into the desert to fend for themselves. OK. I don’t mind being tossed into the middle of the action, so that’s cool. Youngish female character, left to fend for herself in the desert, that’s not a bad start.
She is instantly captured and taken to Camp Iwannaeatyou. The cannibals take her arm and leg and leave her for later. Cannibals must hate leftovers… they are always asking to be set free. So, the best part of our short time in the cannibal camp is that apparently the cannibals are super bodybuilders that listen to Ace of Base. I’m not even kidding. We learn that Mister Cannibal King loves a nice cool Jizzy Fizz, has a daughter, and loves to paint and draw. I bet he is in the running for Cannibal Father of the Year.
Arlen escapes her captor by rolling away on a skateboard, and is found by Jim Carrey Jesus who takes her to Comfort, aka the land of eternal magnetic tape. We skip ahead 5 months like time isn’t even a thing. Arlen is all healed up. She has a prosthetic leg that looks like it came out of the 1940s. She’s got her smiley face shorts on and is ready to have some motivation. She goes out into the desert with a revolver and her undying malaise for vengeance.
Arlen stumbles across (literally… she just randomly finds them) the Cannibal King’s daughter and another lady that is maybe her mother? Arlen does a bit of casual kidnapping and goes back to Comfort. The bad news for Arlen is that Jim Carrey Jesus just happened to see her taking cannibal daughter back to town. Some things happen with threats and a bunny and really it doesn’t mean anything so meh.
Cannibal King finds Jim Carrey Jesus who tells him where cannibal daughter went in exchange for a sweet portrait. Back in Comfort, they are having a rave to celebrate their love of magnetic tape. Keanu aka Dream aka Sweetest Stache in the Land comes out, says some things, and people get really high. Cannibal daughter gets swept up by Dream and his mod squad of Uzi wielding pregnant women. Arlen trips balls, wanders out into the desert, and gets snatched by Cannibal King. We are now at the halfway point of the movie. Feel free to stand up, stretch your legs, and get some water.
Arlen and Cannibal King are out in the desert and he tells her that he can’t go into Comfort and she has to go get his daughter and that’s the only reason she is still alive. Then the unluckiest guy ever rides up on his motorcycle and offers Cannibal King some gasoline for Arlen. Not a bad trade. There is a double cross and now our heroes (?) have a sweet ride. There are a few scenes that I guess are supposed to be development of a romantic relationship, but really they get along like a slug and some salt. Cannibal King gets shot by yet another totally random person and Arlen scoots back to Comfort.
After some searching Arlen finds out that Cannibal daughter is with Dream, so she acts like she wants to be in his harem. Probably for the awesome “The Dream is inside me” shirt. Arlen threatens one of the pregnant women with a gun, takes cannibal daughter and leaves. Oh yeah, while this is happening Jim Carrey Jesus found Cannibal King and saved him, so that’s nice.
Arlen and Cannibal King meet up in the infinite desert again. Cannibal daughter is reunited and the movie ends with Arlen asking if Cannibal King wants to do some Netflix and chill. No. Seriously. That’s what she does. And after putting up a fight, Cannibal King totally goes for it. I guess if Arlen had any sort of charisma at all it might be forgiven. An empty shoe box has more charisma than Arlen.
How do people keep finding each other in this huge desert? Where did all these motorcycles come from? How far apart is the cannibal camp and Comfort? Where did the bodybuilders get their steroids? I’m pretty sure that human meat doesn’t have enough nutritional value to sustain that amount of muscle. Where did The Dream get all those drugs? Why are Giovanni Ribisi and Diego Luna in this movie? Is Jim Carrey Jesus magical? I guess we will never know.