Bad Girl Boogey (2022) Review
Director Alice Maio Mackay and her co-writer Benjamin Pahl Robinson the team that gave us So Vam are back with Bad Girl Boogeya supernatural slasher that opens with a trio of friends attempting some kind of ritual in a house that supposedly has a history of black magic. Things go sideways when Blair (Em Bleby, So Vam, Rock Paper Scissors) puts on a mask she finds and kills her companions.
“Many Halloweens later” as the title card says, Oscar (Stanley Browning, Sam Fox: Extreme Adventures, Stanley’s Mouth) finds the mask and goes on a killing spree of his own, one seemingly driven by homophobia. Fifteen minutes and four murders into the proceedings we get the opening credits.
Angel (Lisa Fanto, Love, Guns & Level Ups, If I Were a Carpenter) lives with her aunt since her mother was murdered. The rest of her family seems more bothered by the fact that, in the wake of her death, it came out that her mother was gay than the fact she was murdered. Unfortunately, tragedy isn’t done with her, while she’s out with her friends Lila (Prudence Cassar) and Dario (Iris Mcerlean) someone in a familiar mask kills Lila before vanishing into the night.
It’s fitting that one of the leads is named Dario as Mackay’s use of coloured lighting is very reminiscent of a certain Italian director, as is the Giallo-esque plot that sees Angel and Dario forced to do their own investigation because “the cops would rather hassle us for smoking weed than find out who killed some queer kid” And that “queer kid” could as easily have been Mackay, who identifies as transgender and was 17 when Bad Girl Boogey was filmed. And you can tell her anger at the homophobia her characters experience and its effects on them is genuine.
Unfortunately, her trying to express what they are feeling led to the biggest problem I had with the film. Right after Lila’s death, there’s a long montage set to a generic song. It shows what the characters are dealing with and how they’re coping. But rather than catching the frustration and anger it just sort of plods along killing the film’s pace and momentum.
Thankfully Mackay does get Bad Girl Boogey back on track and takes it into supernatural territory along the lines of the 1961 film The Mask, or more recently Mask of the Devil. It all builds up to a final showdown with a couple of unexpected twists, sadly the killer’s identity isn’t one of them, having been fairly obvious from the start.
One thing that the viewer can’t fault is Bad Girl Boogey’s effects. While the budget didn’t allow for putting them all on the screen we do get several slashed throats which spray blood, an eye removal and even scalping with a shard of broken glass. They’re all convincingly done with practical effects, even the blood spray as far as I could tell. Also well done is a vocal cameo by Bill Moseley (Dark Roads 79, House of 1000 Corpses) as a radio DJ.
Overall Bad Girl Boogey has a lot going for it, for only her second feature Mackay shows a talent for staging the suspenseful and violent scenes a film like this requires. Hopefully, she’ll get a better grasp on pacing and revealing information. If she can avoid scenes like that montage or a long expository monologue near the film’s end her work will be the better for it.
Her third film, the body horror story T Blockers is already finished and it’ll be interesting to see what it brings to the table. Dark Star Pictures will release Bad Girl Boogey on Digital Platforms on July 4th and on DVD on July 11. Select theatres will also screen the film from July 7th. If you’re not done Boogying, FilmTagger can suggest some similar films for you to watch.