Bender Film Review, America’s First Serial Killing Family

What Bender is all about without spoiling the show

Bender is a scripted film loosely based on the Bender Family that terrorized citizens in Kansas during the 1800s. Known as the Bloody Benders, the foursome has the reputation as the first serial killer family. Here you are thinking the Partridge Family was it.

The film, Bender, only covers a small part of their story. We first meet them near the end of their reign as they invite and then savagely murder guests at their quaint inn. Many details of the story are part of the lore about them.

Did you know anything about the Bender story before watching?

I heard an episode of Lore about the Bloody Benders which gave me the basics of how they would kill their victims. Through this alone, I knew a few points of what was in the film were or weren’t factual, including the age of one of the family members. This made me much angrier than it should have.

Will Bender make viewers feel uncomfortable?

This is not an over-the-top gore fest and more of a psychological and somewhat artsy film. It’s very low budget without any cheap scenes of blood. You’ll be fine. Get a therapist if you need.

What was good about Bender?

It was interesting to see the Bender story told this way. Many films based on killers include the origin story and try to cram too much information. Not much is known about the Bender Family because of the time period. Some facts about them were known and after watching the film, I learned which were covered here.

Bender is a well-made film on what is obviously a low-budget. Much of the tension builds up to a single scene late in the movie. It was clever, but also felt like it would have fit in best with a shorter film.

What could have made Bender better?

It would have been nice to know a little more about the Bender Family. They could have also given them all the correct age and not make the son a little boy. It was a major point in the plot and without it, the story would have been completely different.

Bender definitely drags. It is boring at times. There isn’t enough carnage for a film on this topic. The filmmakers felt like they were trying to go the Gus Van Sant route. This could have worked best with a little more action.

Bender is way too short on action scenes or much of anything happening at all. I did have this expectation heading into it so I wasn’t too upset.

Is Bender worth watching?

Hey, if you have nothing else to do, sure. It’s not that great. You won’t learn much about the family at all. Like I said, there’s really only one big scene everything leads up to. It moves quickly, too. A more shocking or lengthier scene could have made Bender a little more must-see. I don’t think I can recommend it. There was too much missing for me to suggest this to anyone but an enemy or the most bored friend I have.

Overall Score: 3 out of 10

Nice try. On the budget the filmmakers had, they did something passable. I would have liked to see something with more substance. A cameo by the robot from Futurama would have spruced things up.

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