*there are spoilers here. Please see the film before reading this review.
Director: Andy Palmer.
Writer: Rachelle Dimaria.
Cast: Rachelle Dimaria, Katrina Norman, Paul Soter and Jordan Belfi.
Andy Palmer and Rachelle Dimaria's Badlands of Kain reminds this reviewer of an old lyric. In the Eagles song Hotel California: "[in this motel] you can checkout, but never leave." All of the roads in this indie mystery lead back to the small town of Kain. And, it is late in the film where it is revealed that Kain is actually a spiritual purgatory. Here, both evil murderers and bubbly twenty-somethings can end up. While the film's morality and message resist logic, Badlands of Kain will draw many viewers into its suspenseful narrative.
Characters Shannon (Dimaria) and Kris (Katrina Norman) are off on a road trip. Kris wants to explore her debaucherous side in Las Vegas, while Shannon would prefer to see the sites of Yellowstone Nation Park. Both Shannon and Kris do not make it to their desired location. A car breakdown leaves them out in the desert. But, a saviour comes out to help, or does he have something more nefarious to offer? Soon, the two women are waylayed by a supernatural serial killer, while the rest of the town ogles events, strangely. The "last thing...[Shannon] remembers..." is running for the door."
There are still other elements that remain in mystery. Why would Shannon and Kris end up in purgatory? Shannon is honest and friendly. She is unlike the revenge murdering Terry. Purgatory would be more for the dishonest and violent, rather than a normal, young woman. Also, there is no obvious scene in which this duo die. Though, one scene in the car does become bumpy, with Shannon drifting close to sleep. It could be argued that this scene led to the characters death and then to purgatory, due to Shannon's negligence. Another strange element, characters who enter Kain must be killed, in order to keep them there. Isn't one death enough? There are a few story elements that defy logic; or, the film's narrative rules are not completely clear and confusing for at least one viewer.
Badlands of Kain had a fairly under-the-radar release through video-on-demand. This film launched on Amazon and a few other platforms, this past April 5th. The film does offer a few tense scenes and strange interactions. Still, the film's conflicts are minimal. And because of this, Badlands of Kain is a slow burn feature. The final scenes do explain how Kain was created and how Terry got there. But, they do not adequately explain how or why Shannon and Kris were sent to this supernatural limbo. What were their sins? The film ends on a bit of a sour note. But, this feature will entertain most fans of mysteries.
Overall: 7 out of 10.
A fan page for the film:
Badlands of Kain on Facebook
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