(director/writer: Stewart Thorndike; cinematographer: Grant Greenberg; editors: Thomas Emmet Ashton, Kathryn J. Schubert; music: Jason Fakler; cast: Gayle Rankin (Ruthie Nodd), Hari Nef (Cal), Jared Abrahamson (Brian), Molly Ringwald (Ms. Auerbach), Annabelle Dexter-Jones (Fran), Rad Pereira (Maddie), Austin Jones (Ed Halleck), Dana Slosar (Model Joggers), Patrick Klein (Jess Gomez); Runtime: 83; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Lizzie Shapiro, Lexi Tannenholtz; Shudder; 2023)

“What the film lacks is more emotional depth.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The Stewart Thorndike (“Lyle”) psychological thriller is a queer homage to Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 classic masterpiece “The Shining.” That unnerving horror pic that was set within a remote mountain hotel for the winter, during its off-season, that enlisted male rage and ghosts from its past.

Ruthie Nodd (Gayle Rankin) is the inheritor of the Comely Suites, a suburban hotel passed down to her by her mother.

For a weekend escape, as Ruthie preps to sell the place, she brings to the empty snowed-in hotel her girlfriend lover Cal (Hari Nef) and her friends Maddie (Rad Pereira) and Fran (Annabelle Dexter-Jones). As the title tells us, ‘bad things’  happen to the visitors in its oppressive isolation, as female rage goes amok.

What the film lacks is more emotional depth and a story that’s not so facile and derivative.

Through its stark cinematography the pic is  eerily unsettling, especially as the hotel brings forth past ghosts that remind Ruthie of how she despised this place as a child.  

The psychological thriller fails to give us a unique story we can separate from Kubrick’s.

It played at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Bad Things

REVIEWED ON 8/21/2023  GRADE: C+