Remember that weird kid in school? The one that used to put glue on his hands and then would pretend it was peeling skin, then eat the pieces he peeled off? The one that had a cold and waited until the snot would run down his lip until he would lick it off? Yeah, thanks for making fun of me. Anyhow, that’s who Bad Ronald is… Well, I don’t think he eats his own skin, or slurps snot, but he’s weird, just don’t call him that to his face, he might kill you on “accident”.
Ronald Wilby is about to enter his senior year of highschool. His mom has dreams of him going to college and becoming a great doctor so he can cure some unknown disease that she has. One afternoon, he goes over Laurie Matthews house, a popular girl in school that only goes out with football players. Maybe he’s hoping that she’s easy, I guess, because she’s not very attractive, but back to the main story… Ronald goes over Laurie’s house to try to ask her out on a date. She rejects him outright and he leaved rejected. On his way home, he jumps out of the bushes and knocks Laurie’s sister Carol off of her bike. Carol and Ronald exchange a few words, and ends up calling Ronald and his Mother weird (because she calls them like she sees them) and Ronald lifts her off of her feet by her head, and throws her on the ground, where she hits her head on some cinder blocks that coincidentally are lying out. What a way to spend a birthday!
Ronald runs home and tells his mother what he’s done. He buried Carol in a shallow grave, and ripped his jacket while he was trying to hide the body! Ronald and his Mom decide that it’s best if they build a false room where Ronald can hang out, just in case he needs to hide out for a while when the cops come rooting around looking for a killer… you know, just in case. While Ronald is living in his hidden room, he does his daily workouts to stay in shape so that he can keep his health, and writes a fantasy story, “The History of Antranta”. All of this because of the “accidental” death of this young girl.
After a few weeks, Ronald’s mom goes to the doctor and learns that she has to have an operation on her gallbladder “immediately” and that she’ll be in the hospital for a week. She reinforces to him that while she’s gone to keep his routine going, and not to open the door until she gets back. In a big bummer twist, his mom dies while in the hospital, and he’s trapped in this back room. The house gets sold to a new family, so he does what any rational person woud do in that situation, he drills a series of peepholes and builds a tunnel to the crawlspace under the house so that he can spy on the new people that move in, because that’s SMRT. He soon becomes obsessed with the youngest girl of the new family. As he falls deeper and deeper into the fantasy he created, he starts to get sloppy and snoops around the house when the family isn’t home. Eventually, he oversteps his boundaries and risks himself so he can profess his love for the girl, but when she isn’t having it he locks her in a neighbor’s basement with some creepy baby dolls that are nailed up down there.
Bad Ronald isn’t really a horror movie, it’s more of a suspense film or a thriller, as Ronald stalks and falls deeper and deeper into madness. Think of it as a screwed up goosebumps movie, or some newly fired 70’s TV exec’s final joke before he got a boot out the door. It’s actually pretty surprising that this is a TV movie, it’s got some dark subject matter. When I think of TV movies of the mid 70’s, I don’t think of teenage kids that live in the walls of their house after they smash some girl’s head on a cinder block, but I guess I don’t really have a great frame of reference. Maybe it was meant to be a thriller/mystery for kids, but it comes across as disturbing for adults. I was a little skeeved out, so I’m going to be checking my house for any false walls or rooms.
There are a few 70’s stars in this movie, including Pippa Scott (who I recognized, but didn’t know her name), and Dabney Coleman who just can’t seem to turn down a script. While the whole thing is pretty farfetched, it’s still pretty entertaining. It features some unintentional comedy, like when Ronald actually jumps through the wall, or when the neighbor lady has a heart attack and dies from “FRIGHT!” and Ronald just pulls her under the crawlspace of the house. All in all, in my estimation, Bad Ronald is worth 2 creepy kids living in the wall out of 5.