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Free to a Bad Home (2023) Review

Free to a Bad Home is a new anthology film written and directed by Kameron and Scott Hale. They previously co-wrote the feature Entropy which Kameron directed himself. Now as you may remember I was not a fan of that film, so why did I check this out? I did say, among other things, that it felt like a short stretched out to feature length. So hopefully their actual shorts would be better.

There isn’t an actual wraparound story, just an opening and closing shot involving boxes of items labelled “Free to a Good Home”. Of course, they’re cursed and that’s explained in Free to Bad Home’s final segment.

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The first segment “Amy” is about a woman named Amy (Miranda Nieman, Gray Area, Entropy) who lives alone and seems to have crawled into a bottle since her husband left her. Her sister Jill (Hayley Sunshine, Homage, Black Wolf) stops by to visit and get drunk with her. If it’s just the two of them in the house, what is making those odd noises?

This segment would have been obvious as hell even without the shots of a sheet clad figure in the background or the hole in the woods that oozes blood. Apart from that, it’s mostly Amy drinking, wandering around, or drunkenly reminiscing with Jill. It’s not exactly an auspicious start.

Up next is “Ryan” about a thief (Jake C. Young, A Night of the Undead, Reunion from Hell 2) who breaks into what appears to be an unoccupied house. He finds a couple of things of interest, a safe and a woman named Camilla (Roni Locke, Terror Trips, Wrong Turn) chained to the wall who says she can open it. But there’s a price to be paid.

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This segment is a bit better than the first, but is still fairly obvious, long on talk and short on scares. Ryan has to be the most leisurely thief in history, strolling around the house without any worry of getting caught until he finds Camilla. Then he has time to help her get ready for “her big night out”.

Free to a Bad Home’s third and longest segment “Julia” sees the titular woman (Olivia Dennis, Funeral for Furmanski, Chocolate Milk) drop some acid and pick up some friends, and head to a party in the middle of nowhere. This involves nearly ten minutes of riding along with their stoned asses while they mumble nonsense to each other. And then wandering around babbling after they park the car, wandering around at the party, etc.

The segment takes up nearly half of Free to a Bad Home’s running time, and most of it is over before anything happens. The fact the four friends are all tripping means we do get some nice visuals. But in the end, it’s a lot of padding leading up to what looks like an attempt to do some House of 1,000 Corpses or 31 styled cat and mouse sequences. Unfortunately, the Hale Brothers don’t even clear that low bar.

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The wrapup does give Free to a Bad Home its one gore effect, and it’s actually pretty good. But there’s very little else about the film that’s redeeming. Once we get an explanation for the cursed items, the idea is somewhat interesting, but by that point, the film is almost over and nothing was really done with the idea. The items just pass along from person to person like any other cursed object.

Sadly, there isn’t even anything in the film to match Entropy’s WTF last act. Free to a Bad Home is almost entirely scenes of people walking and talking. The results are so dull that I wouldn’t even wish this on a bad home.

Terror Films will release Free to a Bad Home to Digital platforms on February 17th. If you’re looking for something similar but better, FilmTagger can suggest a few titles.

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