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Film / Very Bad Things

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Very Bad Things is a 1998 Black Comedy directed by Peter Berg. It stars Jon Favreau, Cameron Diaz, Christian Slater, Jeremy Piven, Daniel Stern, Leland Orser, and Kobe Tai.

Kyle Fisher (Favreau), days away from his wedding, welcomes his bachelor party weekend as a chance to break free from his Bridezilla fiancée Laura (Diaz). Along with his best friend Charles (Orser), his friends Michael (Piven) and Boyd (Slater), and Michael's brother Adam (Stern), they celebrate in a Las Vegas hotel room, complete with drinking, drugs, and a stripper (Tai).

However, trouble begins when Michael accidentally kills the stripper in the hotel bathroom. When a security guard finds her body, he threatens to call the police but is killed by Boyd. Boyd takes charge of the group and devises a plan to dispose of the bodies by burying them in the desert. Everyone grudgingly goes through with the plan, but soon guilt and nerves begin to destroy the group.

Very Bad Things contains examples of:

  • Accidental Murder: The first death was an accident. Adam's death was arguably an accident too, since Michael intended to crash his car into Adam's minivan only for Adam to jump in the way.
  • Actor Allusion: Just like in Heathers, Christian Slater is asked if he's ever disposed of a body before.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Kyle loses both of his legs as a result of the car accident at the end.
  • Ax-Crazy: Boyd already showed some signs of being unhinged early in the movie, but after the stripper gets killed, all bets were off.
  • Black Dude Dies First: The first character killed is the stripper, played by Asian-American actress Kobe Tai. Interestingly, the second death involves an actual black person.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Adam's two kids aren't the most likable children out there.
  • Bridezilla: Laura. She is willing to commit murder to ensure that nothing spoils her dream wedding.
  • Broken Record: Adam's two sons yell "Whizzers!" for two straight minutes during a trip to the mini-mart.
  • Chainsaw Good: Boyd uses a chainsaw to cut up the two bodies in the hotel bathroom.
  • Crime After Crime: Boyd murders the security guard to cover up the death of the stripper. As the movie progresses, other characters get murdered to prevent them from spilling the beans about the earlier deaths.
  • Death as Comedy: A black comedy about one killing leading to another.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Boyd clearly shows interest in women via the stripper, but gives Kyle The Big Damn Kiss mid-way through the film during his speech about love.
  • Desecrating the Dead: Though only for pragmatic reasons; Boyd uses a chainsaw to cut up the bodies of the stripper and the security guard in the hotel bathroom. This makes it easier to transport the bodies to the desert where they are buried. Adam is particularly upset by this, as he notes that in the Jewish faith, a body should be buried intact and there is a chance of the bodies in question being Jewish.
  • Deus Angst Machina: The whole damn movie, starting with the bachelor party in Vegas.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: The accidental death of a hooker is what kicks off the plot.
  • Disposing of a Body: The main characters end up cutting up two bodies and burying them in the desert.
  • Downer Ending: Kyle, Charles, and Kyle's dog become disabled from a car accident after burying Boyd's body in the desert. Laura is forced to look after them, along with Adam's bratty kids. This causes her to be Driven to Madness at the result.
  • Driven to Madness: As things become gradually worse for the group, Boyd gradually ends up losing his sanity. Same goes to Laura at the end, as she runs into the street screaming.
  • Dutch Angle: Used when Boyd smashes a real estate sign in a fit of anger following an unpleasant phone call with Kyle.
  • From Bad to Worse/Disaster Dominoes: The film's title is very appropriate.
  • Hookers and Blow: This combo is what causes the death that kick-starts the plot.
  • Hope Spot: The Security Guard almost walks out of the crime scene with his life intact, but then he sees the hooker's body, tries to do the right thing, and seals his fate.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Very Bad Things is "This Trope: The Movie".
  • Never One Murder: Forms the plot of the movie. The first death was an accident. The protagonist's attempts to cover it up lead them into a string of murders.
  • Out with a Bang: The death of the stripper while having sex with Michael is what kicks off the plot.
  • Plethora of Mistakes: The plot starts with a bachelor party on that's dirtier than their wives/fiancées want. Then, while high on cocaine, the hooker they hired is killed when her head is impaled during sex. Hiding the body ends up making things worse and that's when Murder Is the Best Solution comes up... Again and again...
  • Rock Bottom: Very Bad Things is practically an endless string of consecutive rock bottoms. Just when you think it couldn't sink any lower, the movie throws its viewers a shovel and tells them to keep digging.
  • The Sociopath: Boyd, oh so much.
  • Spiritual Successor: The Hangover is basically a less dark remake of this film.
  • Stag Party: The groom and his friends go for a wild weekend in Las Vegas that goes horribly wrong.
  • Stepford Smiler: Laura. Absolutely nothing is going to spoil her big day. The Downer Ending brings the suburban dream crashing down around her ears.
  • Token Good Teammate: Adam was the only one of the guys who showed any sort of consideration for the stripper and security guard and his act of jerkassery were brought on by fears, paranoia, and stress over the situation. His threat to turn Michael into the police, since he was the one who started this mess in the first place, gets him killed.
  • Viva Las Vegas!: The guys travel to Vegas for the Stag Party that goes horribly wrong.
  • Wall Bang Her: Goes horribly wrong and results in the death of the stripper.