Revenge thrillers can be repetitive and unoriginal, and “Bad Day for the Cut” is as bland as they come. In an obvious (and lame) rip-off to the far superior “Blue Ruin,” the film seems to confuse nasty, bloody violence with and interesting and feasible plot.
Donal (Nigel O’Neill) is a simple farmer who, after a night of drinking, wakes up to find his elderly mother lying dead in her living room. Shocked by this brutal murder, Donal sets off to find those responsible — and leaves a bloodbath and a pile of bodies in his wake. Clues slowly unravel that answer the mystery as to why his elderly mother was brutally murdered (the answer is a real letdown and the payoff an anticlimactic disappointment).
This has been described as a slow burn Irish revenge thriller, yet I didn’t find the pacing slow at all. The issue is that the bad guy (actually a bad girl, overacted to the point of pronounced yelling by Susan Lynch) is uninteresting; even her motivation for murder is foolish and laughable. In fact, she’s one of the worst cinematic bad guys I’ve ever seen. Luckily O’Neill saves the acting portion of the film, showing a quiet, vigilante rage of a man with a serious grudge and nothing to lose. There’s also a nicely understated performance from Józef Pawlowski as Donal’s would-be assassin and unlikely partner.
The film is super violent, bloody, and has a considerable amount of realistic, brutal savagery that fans of the genre will at least appreciate. It’s hard to ruin a good revenge film, but the real problem is that “Bad Day for the Cut” is just nothing special. There’s no reason to watch this international indie over a run-of-the-mill, big budget studio blockbuster. It’s just as forgettable as any mundane U.S. crime film that you (can’t) remember.
This film was screened and reviewed at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.