The Bagman Review
The Bagman is not a film for the average horror fan. Indeed, only very few of those well-versed in the genre would even consider approaching it. For this is an effort by Stephanie Beaton, a low rent scream queen best known, or so the makers of the disc’s sleeve believe, for her appearance in Witchcraft X. With this particular venture, made specifically for the home video marked, she’s serving as producer and star, though the sheer no-budget nature makes you wonder why the former role was required or, at the very least, what it actually entailed.
Plotwise, The Bagman is an extremely derivative affair. We open ten years in the past with a bunch of “school kids” (i.e. the cast in some endearingly awful wigs) tormenting one of their number and eventually drowning him. Before you can say I Know What You Did Last Summer, they’re all sworn to secrecy and, back in the present day, getting bumped off one by one at the hands of the titular villain. Of course, to divulge that killer is who we think he is hardly comes as a surprise – we do get some nonsense involving a poorly moustachioed detective named Randy and ridiculous plot twist involving Beaton’s day job, but these are neither here no there. After all, I honestly doubt that the filmmakers had any intentions above making a trashy horror flick.
Yet to watch The Bagman on this level doesn’t prove at all satisfying. On the plus side, it does get straight down to business – we have the requisite murder, exposition and a pair of tits all within the first ten minutes – but thereafter seriously flags. Moreover, The Bagman is also a great example of quintessentially bad filmmaking. The special effects are awful (but then also too few and far between), as is the dialogue (not a single of line of which you wouldn’t have heard many, many times before), the general level of technical expertise (not only does the film look unremittingly ugly having been shot on cheap digital video, but it also has truly atrocious sound complete with harsh echoes and the uncanny ability to make everyone as shrill as possible), the sheer preposterousness of its plot developments (are we really to believe that a detective couldn’t recognise that a terrible cross-dressing wasn’t in fact female??) and the acting, of course. As such we’re left with a work which all comes down to your frame of mind. It could be so bad that it actually secures some form of entertainment value. Or it could simply be the most mind number 80 minutes you ever have to sit through.
Whilst it certainly isn’t a result of the disc’s authoring, The Bagman looks and sounds utterly awful on DVD. Shot very cheaply on digital video and with what appears to be the barest of sound equipment, the film resembles nothing more than a home video. As such the 1.33:1 ratio would appear to be correct, but otherwise there is little to commend this release on. Note also, that the disc’s BBFC rating has gone up from a 15 to an 18 owing to some of the trailers for other Hardgore releases. It also goes without saying, perhaps, that these are the sole extras.