Very Bad Things Is A Movie That Is Pretty Much What Its Title Says
Las Vegas is a land where, thanks to all the possible debauchery people can have in the city and all its entertainment options, very bad things can happen if you’re not self-aware and make all the wrong possible decisions. Peter Berg’s 1998 movie, aptly titled, uh, Very Bad Things, is a strange and dark exploration of all the worst things that can happen in a night gone wrong in Vegas. The film, a piece of work with reviews that split right down the middle, is truly not for the faint of heart.
Very Bad Things follows the story of Kyle Fisher (played by Jon Favreau, long before his Iron Man fame) who throws a bachelor party in Las Vegas with his friends Moore (Leland Orser), Boyd (Christian Slater), Adam Berkow (Daniel Stern) and Michael Berkow (Jeremy Piven).
Michael hires a prostitute who he accidentally kills, and Boyd kills a hotel security guard who tries to check out all the commotion in their hotel room. Boyd ends up convincing the entire group to bury the bodies in the Las Vegas desert.
Adam is unable to handle the pressure at the wedding rehearsal dinner and gets into a fight with his brother Michael. Michael leaves and tries to destroy Adam’s minivan, which Adam tries to stop by jumping in front of the car. Adam confesses everything to his wife Lois, who then asks the group about what happened in Vegas. At this point, Boyd takes over the movie’s killings and kills Lois, and eventually Michael. Meanwhile, Kyle, who is made the beneficiary of Adam and Lois’s estate (and given custody of his children) ends up confessing the whole thing to his fiancee Laura, who just wants the wedding to continue as planned.
At the wedding, Boyd wants Kyle to give him the money from Adam’s life insurance. After Kyle refuses, he and Boyd get into a fight, and Moore eventually ends up killing Boyd. They bury Boyd in the desert, and Laura decides to kill Moore as well, to prevent him from confessing to any authorities about what happened. Kyle is unable to go through with killing Moore, and he crashes into another car with Moore with him. The movie ends with Kyle having his legs amputated, Moore brain damaged, and Laura taking care of all of them and Adam’s children, causing Laura to have a nervous breakdown.
First of all, if you thought Very Bad Things was going to be a lighthearted comedy just from the title alone, then you’re very, very wrong. The trailer makes it look like a wacky adventure in the same vein as The Hangover films, but the difference is nobody in the Hangover movies decide to kill people as their very last chance to desperate solve a huge problem.
Yes, this movie is extremely messed up, and as much as I like to review movies that have some sort of shock factor, I have to say this is too much. Especially when it’s being marketed as a crazy adventure; what sort of entertainment can a sane person derive from a group of people who think it’s okay to freely kill? (Hasn’t anyone got a damn soul or conscience in this movie?) Very Bad Things certainly takes the whole “what happens in Vegas” thing to a whole other level, and perhaps that may be why the Hangover series ended up being more successful, despite Very Bad Things having a more star-studded cast for 1998. They even suggest killing a dog.
Other than the brazen brutality of Very Bad Things, it just also is guilty of its boorish humor.
That’s beyond the macabre nature of its plot; the film seems like it really has very little regard for the groups of people it offends.
It wouldn’t even pass muster in 2017 as a movie that is artfully, ironically offensive (if such a classification even exists).
You’d do best to steer clear of Very Bad Things, unless you yourself are sort of messed up in the head. The films reviewed in this site will always have its own audience, I suppose, regardless of how terrible they might be. There may be a select few of you who’ll like this film. Good for you, I guess. I surmise the only good thing that comes out of it is that karma really does win in the end.
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