Welcome to HorrorFest 2009.
One of the earliest titles I did in this series this month was a look at the Warner Archives release of "Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark," a '70s TV movie that has a passionate cult audience that remembers the film from childhood. The other title they sent me at the same time has a similar nostalgic charge for audiences, and again, I knew the film by name and reputation, but I never saw it back when it originally aired, so I came to it fresh.
"Bad Ronald" is one of those films that I've had many people mention to me over the years as a film that terrified them when they saw it, and that they would love to own or to see again. My advice to those people is to leave it as a memory, because I doubt it's going to terrify anyone who sees it now. It's not a bad film, per se, but it's also not very scary. More than anything, it's a sad little film about a kid who makes one terrible choice and then pays for it with everything he has.
Scott Jacoby stars as Ronald Wilby, a high school outsider who lives with his mother. His dad is long-since-gone, having accepted a payoff of $30,000 from his mother to just disappear and never come back. Ronald's a fantasy-minded kid, constantly drawing and imagining his own magical kingdom, but he knows that his mother wants him to grow up to be a doctor. He loves her and wants to do what she asks, but he's also trying to find a way to reach out to his peers and be part of the group.
On the afternoon of his birthday, he goes to see a neighbor he's got a crush on, and when she rejects him in front of a bunch of friends, mid-pool party, Ronald storms off. He runs into her younger sister on the way home, and when she calls him "weird" and insults his mother, he snaps, and he throws her off her bike. She hits her head on a concrete block, and when Ronald realizes she's dead, he makes the worst choice of his life. He buries her, then heads home to tell his mother what he's done.