I hadn’t really given Bachelor Games the benefit of the doubt.
Of course, as aforementioned when you hear “stag” nowadays you cannot help but roll your eyes. We’ve had tonnes of films about the titular lads’ holiday and they are all the same: copious amounts of alcohol consumption to the extent of memory loss, sexy ladies showing their breasts, and pranks. It’s become an exhausting narrative. Between The Inbetweeners, The Hangover, Best Man Holiday, and tonnes more of movies about coarse and brutish men, the whole trope of “freedom with the mates” has become tiring, with no originality to freshen up the plot.
But could the latest comedy/horror film from the UK set to shatter the trope?
Bachelor Games revolves around a group of lads who are heading to Argentina for groom-to-be Henry’s stag do. Weeheeeyyy. When they get there, they stumble upon Henry’s old tour buddy Max and it’s clear that there is something uneasy about him. Especially as he doesn’t get along with Best Man Leon. As they scale the mountains nearby, the group decide to play a prank on one unsuspecting member but it all goes astray when they find out they aren’t alone and something murderous has tracked them down. Can the men survive the game of cat and mouse?
Within minutes of Bachelor Games, previously known as The Rules of the Game, you’d be forgiven for assuming the film was going in the same direction as the aforementioned stag films. Even with our protagonist Henry lamenting that he “didn’t want anyone to get hurt” smatters of the familiar due to an abundance of boy-based horrors and their hijinks that soon turn into danger. Yet it doesn’t take long for the narrative to twist and turn around like the abandoned low hills of the Andes, bending the rules to become a unique film.
The dusty setting of Argentina is a stag of strife and struggle as each man atones for his different and varying sins. As the heat boils the tension, and a mysterious predator stalks them, Henry and his crew of hapless mates must fight for survival, adding yet another layer of gripping intrigue to the film.
It helps that the characters are written so well and performed with equal gusto. Henry, played by Charlie Bewley is the emotional heart of the film whilst still having a darkness and guilt within him. Whilst the likes of Jack Gordon, Jack Doolan, and Mike Noble play archetypes of British lads (weeehheeeyyy,) Sam Michell and Chris Hill’s script slowly fleshes them out so by the finale, you are willing them to survive.
Of course, there are some clichés and you’ll never warm to Terence – the swearing and loutish rich-boy of the group – which makes the pivotal drama surrounding him a little less crucial than it’s supposed to be. Other than that, Bachelor Games is a good film. Heck, it’s even great. Director Edward McGown implements dark humour and fear within is movie that, thanks to the performances and an astute script, feel terribly real. Tense and fun, Bachelor Games is a great play on the genre.
BACHELOR GAMES IS OUT ON VOD 8th JULY!