Frankie goes to a bar in search for a man responsible for the death of her family, but can't seem to find anyone with a connection to him. After a meeting with a woman who seems to share a few things with Frankie's past, Frankie is soon thrown into something that turns her quest for revenge into something much worse. A place where she will be eye to eye with a beast, and has to fight for her survival.
If you know me, you know I love werewolf movies. I mean, the good ones. And not just the graphic stuff, but generally the idea of werewolves is damn creepy. I first got interested in "The Big Bad" for this reason, but I also knew that this wouldn't really be a werewolf horror movie as much as a mystery. That usually means a lack of werewolves, and that was the case with this one. There's nothing wrong with that at all, just figured I'd throw that out there for anyone who might be in a similar position as me.
"The Big Bad" is the name of a bar where our lead, Frankie, goes to find answers about a beast that killed her family. She's looking for a man, but no one seems to be able to help her. That is, until she meets a woman in the ladies' room. The two hit off and start talking about their past, and soon it appears that she knows a thing or two about the man Frankie is after. But after saying the wrong thing, the woman grows teeth and attacks Frankie. This is just the beginning of a spiral into very dark places, and Frankie finds herself in a battle of blood between the surreal and reality.
What I absolutely loved about this movie was that it so successfully made the whole werewolf thing mysterious. After having watch a number of werewolf movies, it's hard for filmmakers to make it a successful mystery. While we might know where it was heading eventually, it took some really interesting turns to get there. The first third of the movie, if not more, is spent in the bar where we slowly puzzle together what Frankie and her new friend are all about, as well as how the werewolf mythos is implemented in the movie. It takes its time, and it's much needed. It never gets boring because it sways between drama, horror and even comedy. Not straight-out comedy, but there are several moments that show a darker comedy - many of them through comments or reactions by Frankie. And one scene that feels a bit "Evil Dead 2"-ish - let's just say it has to do with getting stuff on you... and a whole lot of stuff, at that. I can't say whether that helps the movie or not in the long run, but it makes the slower parts a lot more interesting.
After the bar scene, it quickly moves to crime/cult/horror territory and this is my biggest issue with the movie. It takes time with the first part, which is great. The third part is slightly shorter but just enough for us to get an entertaining finale. The middle part, however, goes way too fast. It seems like it is missing a few steps in the dramaturgy here, and just goes from A directly to C (or with a lower-case "b" in the middle). While we might understand what happens still, we're not there emotionally. What started as the beginning of an epic search for Frankie is soon cut short. This was definitely the main flaw of the movie. After that, however, I think we have a solid horror movie going on. It's atmospheric and has plenty of action without ever leaving the roots of mystery behind: we rarely know exactly what's up. Had the middle part been slightly longer and fully developed then I am sure it would've made the ending even better.
"The Big Bad" is a good horror mystery that could've been a lot more. I still recommend it, though, and especially to fans of werewolf movies. While it's not the most typical werewolf movie, it carries some of the most important things successfully: it's mysterious, it's atmospheric and the werewolf looks believable. Of course, I am always a bigger fan of werewolves that look more like wolves and less like "The Wolf Man", but that's rarely a problem as much as a preference. The werewolves here are of the old kind, and if you expect that then there's nothing to be annoyed by. It's an interesting movie with a solid production, some interesting visual ideas and most of the time very good acting, so check it out if you want a little semi-surreal and dreamlike werewolf mystery!