film reel image

film reel image

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Bullies 1986 * * * Stars


"Matt you don't know them". Yeah you don't Matt. You done taking the wrong turn boy. Matt and his family move to a small town and open up a grocery store. Little do they know that another family is bent on tormenting them like all get out. 

Anyway I remember it like it was yesterday. The year was 1986. It was in my hometown via Southwest Michigan at the local theatre (Southtown Twin to be exact). The film was Bullies and it played for about a week. Then it was gone, sigh. Audiences around the country probably weren't ready for Bullies anyway. Unknown cast, no marketing, borderline NC-17 rating, vile subject matter. Yup, I thought I'd revisit this acrid switchblade of a movie.

Bullies certainly gets its title right. It's simple, brash, and to the point. It is about bullies with the last name of Cullen (a memorable last name indeed and a nice touch). According to the wiki of Bullies, the Cullens are a clan of sorts. Heck, I consider them a bunch of bags with a mountainous, redneck flavor. If you're in a Straw Dogs and/or Deliverance sort of mood, those Cullens sure were your tour guide back in good old '86. 

With a musical score that is 80s cheese and a Canadian director that has enough assertive gumption to stage confrontation (Paul Lynch of Prom Night fame), Bullies never harbored cult status nor did it gain access to the midnight movie circuit. Why? Well the flick has a certain ugliness to it, a sort of relentless coup de grace if you will. But hey, what'd you expect? The film is called Bullies and it does what it conveys. Lynch's vision can be tasteless, superfluous, and overly violent but it will affect you. Well-acted, carefully plotted, and reprisal-minded, I say "bully" for that. 

Written by Jesse Burleson

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