Road Rash Reviews

The Bad Shepherd Digital Review***--

Cert 15 | 91 mins | 2024

3 star steady but slightly confused psychological thriller.

The Bad Shepherd is a 2024 supernatural survival film, written by Ryan David Jahn and directed by Geo Santini (After the Reign, Hotel California), who also stars.

It is available now on UK Digital Platforms courtesy of Scatena and Rosner films.

“Let’s ignore the dead body for a second, okay? We don’t know where this money came from. Besides which, we’re not the type of people who go into the f***king forest and bury bodies.”

As the film opens, we see a young woman (Courtney Blythe Turk – Black Water) driving along, with blood on her and a gun on the passenger seat. Her tyre blows and not having a spare, she gets out of the car and starts walking along the road, duffle bag in hand. Shortly after, a large truck comes barreling along and knocks her down.

The occupants are four friends heading off on a hunting trip. They get out of the car and soon realise that the woman is dead. Paul (Christos Kalabogias – Mouthpiece) is about to call the police, when John (Scotty Tovar – Finestkind) opens the duffle bag to discover that it’s full of money. After some debate, it is decided that they will bury her body themselves and split the money between them.

Poor decision number one made, they head off to the cabin where Travis (Brett Zimmerman – Million Dollar Arm) reluctantly begins to bury the body, supervised by Leonard (Justin Taite – A Wreck Without You). It’s not long however until an impressive feat of tracking leads the mysterious Sidney (Geo Santini) to the cabin and to what he claims is his money.

This enigmatic character, who knows far more than he should about all of them, claims it is in all their best interest to return his money, but can our four friends resist the siren song of the cash and do the right thing?

“As I said, I have no intention of harming anyone. I believe that I can convince you that it is in you best interests to let me walk away with the money.”

The Bad Shepherd gets off to a good start, it’s an interesting premise, can they get away with murder and place the blame onto someone else? The introduction of Sidney adds an element of mystery to the proceedings for a little while, but it does feel like it gets a bit bogged down in places. Without better character development, it’s hard to relate to what is happening. The acting could also have been better,(most notably Sidney), in this case it seems less is actually less.

My main issue is that when the big reveal happens at the end of the film, it tinkers with (or flat out disregards) the underlying mythology with zero explanation, rendering everything that came before a bit nonsensical. Ignoring that though, it does take a hard and honest look at human nature, and that part of the story is pretty good.

All in all, it has some memorable moments, and is still worth a look.

“OK, you’d be surprised what I seen out here. One fellow decided to poach a bear. Hung bait all around his camp. Thing chewed his face off.”The Bad Shepherd is available on UK Digital Platforms┬á from 22nd April 2024.

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DirectorGeo Santini
StarringChristos Kalabogias, Scotty Tovar, Geo Santini, Brett Zimmerman, Justin Taite
Category: Digital, film, Review