Director: Peter Berg
Cast: Christian Slater, Cameron Diaz, Jon Favreau
Release Date: January 28, 2020
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 6/10
Kyle Fisher (Jon Favreau, Swingers) has one last night to celebrate life as a single man before marrying Laura (Cameron Diaz, There’s Something About Mary), so he sets out to Vegas with four of his best buddies. But their swanky, drug-and-alcohol-fueled bachelor party goes bust when their “stripper” cashes in her chips during a deranged sexual escapade. And hers is just the first of the bodies to pile up. The five friends decide to bury the evidence … but fate has a way of not letting the truth stay buried for long.
Featuring an all-start cast including Christian Slater (True Romance), Jeremy Piven (Entourage), Daniel Stern (Home Alone), Jeanne Tripplehorn (Waterworld), and Leland Orser (Se7en), Very Bad Things is outrageous, hilarious, and full of jaw-dropping twists and surprises. Actor-turned-director Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights, The Rundown) makes his directorial debut in this savagely funny and unexpected dark comedy.
‘Very Bad Things’ tells the darkly comedic tale of five close friends who head out for a wild bachelor party in Las Vegas. But when a night of booze, drug and sex fueled debauchery suddenly turns deadly, it leads this group of everyday friends down a dark path layered with questionable decisions. Once back home, the guilt, paranoia and just plain insanity starts to build in each, causing these friends to quickly begin turning on each other. Written and directed by filmmaker Peter Berg (Lone Survivor, Patriots Day) and also marking his directorial debut, ‘Very Bad Things’ features a stellar cast that includes Christian Slater, Cameron Diaz, Jon Favreau, Daniel Stern, Jeremy Piven, Leland Orser and Jeanne Tripplehorn and still manages to provide all of the twisted fun and laughs that it did back when it was initially released in 1998.
‘Very Bad Things’ is a wild, unexpectedly nasty and dementedly hilarious comedy with a pitch-black nature that still holds up splendidly more than two decades later (and after a good few viewings over the years on my part). While some may take issue with its bleak nature and nasty disposition, it also has no shortage of fans including myself and if you appreciate a violent, unpredictable and darkly hilarious comedy with a powerhouse cast but never had the pleasure of this bloody comedic gem, I would strongly suggest making a point of giving ‘Very Bad Things’ a chance whenever you can find the opportunity. Originally unleashed upon moviegoers in late 1998 (and just in time for Thanksgiving no less) ‘Very Bad Things’ is a wild, twisted and hilarious comedy of the darkest nature that still more than delivers the nasty goods all of these years later, and almost surely substantially expanding its fan base as more come to discover and appreciate this delightfully demented good time. As far as the Blu-ray release itself from Shout! Factory’s ‘Shout Select’ collection (which also marks its long awaited Blu-ray debut here in the US) is concerned, the video presentation isn’t all that it could be, although combined with the lossless audio presentation and a few brand new bonus goodies created specifically for this release, the long-awaited Blu-ray debut of ‘Very Bad Things’ should certainly still justify a purchase for the fans.
Overall, ‘Very Bad Things’ is an uncommonly twisted and darkly hilarious comedy that’s as pitch black as they get. It’s a wildly funny good time with twists and turns around every corner that’s well deserving of cult status, and a true pleasure to finally have on Blu-ray at last. The Blu-ray release may have a couple issues and the video presentation in particular isn’t perfect, but for longtime fans of this wonderful dark comedy it will probably still be a must own, and it definitely beats any of the other physical format offerings previously released here in the states. The brand new extras including a new commentary and a couple cast interviews also help to at least make this release worthwhile and a long overdue joy to finally have on Blu-ray after all these years. For fellow fans of ‘Very Bad Things’, this release is still definitely recommended.
The Shout Select Blu-ray release of ‘Very Bad Things’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio. The video presentation isn’t perfect unfortunately and suffers a few noticeable faults including balancing and video noise, as well as some scenes that appear overly saturated and occasionally oddly colored in spots. As the release makes no mention of a new transfer being included, there’s probably a fair chance that the presentation is taken from an overseas release although that’s merely a guess as I have no way to compare. That being said, this high definition video presentation still holds up quite capably and at times even impresses with the sharpness and smooth movement offered. While the negatives are noticeable, they fortunately never allow anything onscreen to become rendered indiscernible or anything quite so extreme and it still undeniably beats the DVD and other previous physical releases available. Overall, this is a decent high definition video presentation that delivers for the most part and considering the alternatives should still largely satisfy the fan base.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This multichannel soundtrack delivers an altogether clean, crisp and at times somewhat aggressive audio presentation throughout. While not overly zealous in the surround department, it still takes advantage of all five available channels in order to send music, bits of dialogue (or screaming), along with nature elements and other fitting audio content throughout the various speakers, while never conflicting with any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously. Overall, this is a solid 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack that sounds nice and clean from start to finish while repeatedly contributing some additional fun to the overall viewing experience.
The Shout Select Blu-ray release of ‘Very Bad Things’ includes a few noteworthy, brand new extras created specifically for this release that fellow fans of the film should appreciate. Included is an ‘Audio Commentary with Film Critics Witney Seibold and William Bibbiani (Hosts of the Podcast Critically Acclaimed)’, in addition to a couple of new cast interviews: ‘’A Real Harvey Wallbanger: An Interview with Actor Jeremy Piven’ (running approximately 17 minutes in length) and ‘The Man Behind the Mask: An Interview with Actor Daniel Stern’ (running 21 minutes). Also included are the ‘Theatrical Trailer’ for the movie (approximately 1 minute) and a ‘Still Gallery’.