More and more films premiere on Video on Demand — if they don’t simply bypass a theatrical release altogether. Because VOD reviews are often scarce and hard to find, Criticwire created VODetails, a recurring column to help you figure out whether a new VOD release is worth your hard-earned dollar. This time we’re looking at “Bad Fever,” an indie drama about a lost soul who dreams of becoming a stand-up comic — not Spike Lee’s new documentary about the impact of Michael Jackson’s “Bad” album (that film’s called “Bad 25“).
Director: Dustin Guy Defa
Cast: Kentucker Audley, Eleonore Hendricks, Annette Wright
Official Synopsis: “Alternatively quiet and delirious, always desperate, ‘Bad Fever’ is a witness to one man’s broken American dream and his eternal longing to find someone, anyone, who understands or even pretends to understand. Eddie (Audley) bumbles his way through an agonizing courtship with Irene (Hendricks), a manipulating drifter who videotapes their fleeting moments together. To express his true feelings for her, he painstakingly orchestrates his debut stand-up performance at the local comedy club. Here is a portrait of two lonely trains passing each other by on the emotional railroad tracks of a forgotten city.”
“Defa exerts delicate control over his incendiary material and evokes emotional terrors with a sympathetic directness; his raw-toned drama is quietly hectic and brutally poignant.”
“Based on this, and other, recent performances of Audley’s that I’ve seen, I don’t feel the slightest bit silly or hyperbolic in stating that Hollywood has a new Paul Newman or Brad Pitt on their hands.”
“If Defa’s aesthetics are mundane, his leads’ performances are not, especially in the case of Audley, whose darting eyes and hushed, stuttering speech express confused longing with transfixing train-wreck magnetism.”
“A minimalist character study [that] builds a curious empathy.”
“Indie small-town miserablism, heavy on the awkward silences and joggling, invasive close-ups.”
“Bad Fever” is now available on VOD, iTunes, and Amazon.