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Stag (1997)
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Review Date: December 30, 1998
Director: Gavin Wilding
Writer: Pat Burmel and Evan Tylor
Producers: Michael Paseornek, John Dunning
Actors:
John Stockwell as Victor
Mario Van Peebles as Michael
Ben Gazzara as Frank
Plot:
A bunch of guys get together at a friend's place for a surprise stag party for their groom-to-be buddy. Once the two hookers/dancers arrive, the party really gets going, but not until one of the party-girls drops dead via an accident caused by the fellas. Another accident erases their male escort, and suddenly all of these men have to face the fact that they have two dead bodies in the house, and a live dancer wailing to squeal.
Critique:
This movie grabs you by the balls from its opening scenes, and draws you closer and closer to the reality of their dire situation as it systematically touches upon all of the needed elements of a great thriller. The premise is fantastic and real. The execution and development of their deeds are sure and believable. And most importantly, the tension and the intrigue laced throughout this movie, lend a perfect balance to this film's greatest asset, which is the authenticity of its characters, and the true appreciation of the unknown future that these very men have to face in every single scene. The film's conclusion is one of the best that I've seen in years, and something to be proud of in any production's regard. Think 12 ANGRY MEN meets THE BACHELOR PARTY gone awry.

Add to the film's success, a pretty solid cast of actors, including an against-type Andrew McCarthy, a genuine Mario Van Peebles, and a strong-as-ever Ben Gazzara, and you've got yourself a fun time with the boys. The soundtrack is also very unique and appropriate (Any film that starts off with a Tom Jones tune is allright in my book), as is its style and suitable runtime (barely grazes an hour and a half). It's quick, it's filled with tension and moral issues, and it's got singer-turned-actress Taylor Dayne stripping down to her skivvies. What else could you ask for? :) The only semi-negatives in this film were perhaps the tiny plot holes which are inevitable in a cast and breadth of scope as such, and the lack of oomph from some of its actors, but in a cast of this size, one can't expect the Oscars all around. This is a great tension-filled drama that effectively ponders over every conceivable option and moral issue that would arise within this very traumatic situation, and adds fuel to that fire, by providing a respective point of view from a varied crew of men, all carrying their own concerns, grudges and emotions over their shoulders. Watch it with your buds or your loved one, and discuss it over a beer afterwards. It's a great film.
(c) 2016 Berge Garabedian
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