'The Badger Game' [Blu-ray]
(Augie Duke, Patrick Cronen, Jillian Leigh, Sam Boxleitner, Sasha Higgins, et al / Blu-ray / NR / 2015 / Intervision Picture Corp.)
Overview: When a young woman discovers that her wealthy boyfriend is married, she and three friends hatch a kidnapping-and-extortion scheme known in criminal circles as a badger game to teach him a lesson and score an easy $2 million. But they'll soon learn certain games can quickly spin out of control ... and that one seemingly perfect crime is about to go horribly wrong.
Blu-ray Verdict: Simply put, 'The Badger Game' may well have its roots in popular crime thrillers such as 'Oceans 11,' 'The Italian Job' and 'Blood Simple, but it is, for sure, its very own, one-of-a-kind indie thriller, of that have no doubt! The story is very well written and the cast were definitely giving their all, the entire way through this enthralling 99 minute film.
OK, so just what is this actual "Badger Game" then, I hear you ask Well, it is, at its heart, although not completely (come the end) a riveting kidnapping thriller. What surprised me though is how the filmmakers managed to turn the plot on it's ear (come that end, that I shall NOT be even talking about here!). While most films of this type feature some innocent person who winds up being caught up in a terrifying dilemma by a group of masked villains, 'The Badger Game' twists this around completely by having the abducted victim being no innocent little person; but rather a spiteful, back stabbing, lying, cheating, no good womanizer!
As 'The Badger Game' proceeds, it also cleverly shifts it's story from seeing things through the eyes of it's intended victim, to instead seeing things from the group of kidnappers point of view. Also, the animal masks the group wear was a very nice touch too. Sure they look like extras from the home invasion gory thriller 'You're Next,' but this relatively unknown group of actors manage to pull it off, nonetheless.
For me, I like how 'The Badger Game' takes time to focus on it's characters, allowing us the chance to get to know each person, all of whom are quiet fun and interesting. Despite it's somewhat dark serious tone, the film has many humorous bits, sometimes at the most odd of times though, it has to be said!
Finally, and with all that said, being that it is a low budget indie film, after all, some of the low budget technical issues can start to irk you before you are even a quarter of the way through, but you have to be strong enough, understanding enough to allow those to wash over you. For the story of 'The Badger Game' is definitely a fun ride and not something to be missed. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Audio Commentary with Writer/Directors Joshua Wagner and Thomas Zambeck, and Composer London May
Audio Commentary with stars Augie Duke, Jillian Leigh, and Sasha Higgins
Cast and Crew Interviews from the premiere in Downtown LA