Bad Biology (2008)

4 Oct

Do yourself a favor and don't Google Image Search this movie unless you're at home. It's nearly impossible to find photos of this film that are safe for work.

I was looking for something in the vein of “Re-Animator” when I stumbled upon Frank Henenlotter’s “Bad Biology.” It seemed to fit the bill: Campy premise, elements of black comedy, not too serious or scary yet still classed in the horror genre. At best, I hoped for something funny and kind of gross that I could easily spend 80 minutes or so with. At worst, I thought it’d be tedious and juvenile. My estimates on worst were way, way off.

“Bad Biology” tells the stories of Jennifer and Batz, two sexual mutants who seem destined for each other. Jennifer is professional photographer by day, self-described evolutionary miracle by night. Batz, meanwhile, lives alone and avoids human contact due to the nature of his mutation. Hi-jinks ensue for each character, but they finally do meet. And when they do, it’s not just sparks that fly.

I’ve never seen any of Henenlotter’s other cult favorites (“Basket Case,” “Frankenhooker”), so I can’t compare this film with his earlier work. What I do know is that “Bad Biology” is a mess. It’s so raunchy that it’s hard to even describe the plot of the film without using words that will get this site absolutely bombed with spam. I had a hard time finding SFW photos to use for this review, even. Raunchiness is part of the charm of cult horror movies, but there’s too little else of interest going on in this one, which honestly plays like a series of boob montages punctuated by dick jokes.

Everything I can think of to give “Bad Biology” credit for ends up having a detraction on the opposite side of the coin: Original concept/misogynistic bent, moments of black humor/too few and far between, strong opening/tedious development. It’s a textbook example of what I mean when I say a movie fails to build any goodwill. I’m the sort of person that can forgive a lot of faults if the scales ultimately tip a little in the film’s favor. “Bad Biology” evens out, at best, and that’s not enough.

I can appreciate the attempts to make wry observations about modern culture. It’s a concept with a lengthy pedigree, and it can be successful — George Romero’s “Living Dead” films perhaps serving as the best-known examples of horror/social commentary hybrids. But “Bad Biology” makes only sophomoric analyses of the concepts it presents. At best, it’s lazy; at worst, it’s blatantly misogynistic. The idea of woman as “goddess” by virtue of harnessing her sexual power is nothing new, and the idea that any woman can eventually be tamed by a certain male appendage is flatly offensive. The only semi-interesting tack the movie takes is the notion of a man who’s alarmed by his own needs. That’s a road that isn’t travelled often, but ultimately “Bad Biology” only half-forms this as a theme.

The actors in this movie are about as appealing as burnt toast.

The acting is predictably awful, but some of the bit players seem as if they would have trouble stringing together sentences in real life, much less on camera. There are a couple of truly throwaway sequences and absolute WTF moments that seem rigged up just to allow people a chance to say something in the movie. Charlee Danielson is the only cast member who does a passable job of delivering her lines and getting through the physical acting bits, but, believe me, that’s a far cry from saying she’s good. She is simply the only one who can speak more than three words without having to stop and think about what comes next.

A few more faux pas: Several times characters break the fourth wall and talk to the audience for no other reason than to tell their backstories or plead for their behavior to be excused. Not good enough reasons, really. The effects are truly, honestly terrible. I get this is a low-budget production but that doesn’t have to equal spit-and-strings monsters. The big bad seriously looks like something a blind person or a child might put together. Or maybe even a blind child. That would maybe excuse it, but no adult should have come up with such a sorry critter.

It bears repeating: This is a seriously sucky movie. For those of my readers who are of the bad-movie-loving persuasion, I’m not sure it works even if you embrace the so-bad-it’s-good mentality. I’d be interested in seeing if a guy would dislike the themes as much as I did, but beyond that my interest in this one lies in warning people away. One star out of four.

Bad Biology“: Unrated (common sense rating, 17 and up). Starring Charlee Danielson, Anthony Sneed, Mark Wilson, Staff Sgt. John A Thorburn, Remedy and Tom Kohut. Directed by Frank Henenlolter. Written by Frank Henenlotter and R.A. “The Rugged Man” Thorburn. Cinematography by Nick Deeg. Original music by Josh Glazer and Prince Paul.

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  1. 31 Nights of Horror: Final thoughts (2010) « Rhanda watches - November 23, 2010

    […] — “Death Bed: The Bed That Eats.” There were three one-star reviews: “Bad Biology,” “Venus in Furs,” and “Swamp […]

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