BenD (2014) – By Misty Layne

BenD, by Séamus Hanly of Dublin, Ireland, is an intriguing journey through a series of different worlds, life, death and redemption. Put together on a very low to almost no scale budget, the film manages to do quite well for itself despite this. While there are the occasional sound issues and the look of the film is dark and gritty, you honestly don’t care because the script is so compelling, not to mention damn funny at times.

Ben is a regular joe, who honestly looks rather like a kid. He’s back in his hometown to look after his father’s house after his father has, I assume, passed away. But strange things start happening wherein Ben can no longer stay awake during the day and wanders the streets at night. During his late night wanderings he meets a girl named Elizabeth, who seems to be interested in him all the while proclaiming that her husband will soon be returning home.  And then there’s the mad man with the toys – and honestly all I could think the whole time was Doctor Who. That’s a compliment by the way. The long haired mad genius type man (we’ll just call him the “Doctor” from now on) shows up one evening having been led to Ben for reasons unknown. Eventually the meetings become typical and a story of a world between worlds, an escaped convict and a tale of becoming Death himself unfolds. Oh, but don’t worry, there’s plenty left for you to figure out on your own.

I loved the dialogue, especially the “Doctor”. It only works if you’re a fan of dry humor and riddles and oh boy am I ever. There were times when the acting was a bit stilted…Ben’s main facial expression was one of confusion while the “Doctor”‘s was one of concern. And there were issues with reaction shots – when one person would be talking and the other should be reacting, the other often was not reacting at all. Other than those small issues though, I highly enjoyed the cast and the incredibly dry wit.

The film also managed to pull off some creepy stuff which was impressive with it’s almost non-budget. There are creatures called Chasers (which are really just people in all black suits) but they manage to make them look right out of a J-horror film and that almost never fails to freak one out. Oh and Death or someone referred to as Death anyway – the stuff of nightmares. Admittedly, maybe only MY nightmares but nonetheless.

Overall, I highly enjoyed BenD. The story never left me bored and I kept trying to guess what was going to happen next. This is a definite recommendation. And lucky YOU, you can watch it on Youtube! Or you can visit the film’s website and order it there. So go check it out – this is one cool sci-fi, philosophical film that’s a helluva lot of fun.