A harrowing tale of a bachelor party gone awry, STAG is a sometimes gripping, sometimes frustrating suspense drama that originally premiered on HBO and was subsequently released to video.
Engaged attorney Victor Mallick (John Stockwell) arrives at his posh home and finds that his law partner, Michael (Mario Van Peebles), has gathered eight of their old friends for a stag party. The participants include Timan (John Henson), Jon (William McNamara), Vic's Uncle Frank (Ben Gazzara),
Danny (Kevin Dillon), who is a veteran with Gulf War Syndrome, and sleazy drug dealer Pete (Andrew McCarthy), who goes through Timan's wallet while he is being sick and discovers his secret: he is a closet homosexual.
The party begins hopping when stripping sisters Serena (Taylor Dayne) and Kelly (Jenny McShane) arrive with bodyguard Stoker (William Prael), but the drunken, erotic antics come to an abrupt halt when some of the men begin tossing Kelly in the air with a blanket. She crashes down on her neck,
dying instantly. The enraged Stoker begins firing a gun and hits Danny before Pete shoots him. With Pete already on parole and the others wanting to avoid charges, they decide to hold Serena captive and consider two options: pay her off or kill her.
The discussion soon becomes a screaming match in which they all lay blame on each other until the tension is broken by Vic's nosy neighbor, Ted (Jerry Stiller), who sets off the house alarm. Trying to shut the alarm off, Jon shorts out the air conditioning. The stifling heat makes the proceedings
even more explosive: first, Vic and Pete pull guns on each other, then Frank dies of a heart attack after a scuffle with Danny. Timan, an innocent since he was passed out during the deaths, commits suicide after Pete threatens to expose his homosexuality if he leaves. Danny attempts to free
Serena, but he is stopped and then tied up by the rest of the men. In the meantime, they decide to blame everything on Frank. It is then revealed that the entire affair has been recorded on a camcorder that had been passed around earlier in the party.
After Pete causes dissension among the men, they finally turn on him. The cops arrive to check out another false alarm set by Ted and in the ensuing panic, Serena grabs the weapons. She later wounds Vic and kills Pete before being gunned down by cops. Thanks to the tape, Danny becomes the
prosecution's star witness and the others are jailed.
Director Gavin Wilding (THE RAFFLE) delivers a few suspenseful moments in this violent picture that looks like the flip side of JUDGMENT NIGHT (1993) or 12 ANGRY MEN (1957), before it falls apart in a gory, shoot-'em-up conclusion.
Dillon, Stockwell, and Van Peebles' performances are the film's strongest aspect, but Andrew McCarthy does an interesting character turn as the low-balling Pete Weber. With his black, greasy hair, thick glasses, stained yellow teeth, and bad attitude, Pete elicits a mean-spirited smugness as he
holds sway over the kangaroo court, playing each man against another. After the brawl that leads to Frank's death, he leers at Vic, "One less guest for the wedding, huh?" As sleazy as Pete is, he is also the most developed character in the movie. Little is revealed about Vic or his so-called
friends, who seem like a group strangers who've just been thrown together. Indeed, they are a hateful bunch who make several boorish and completely irrational decisions over the course of the evening.
Director Wilding does a good job of sustaining the tension in the confrontational sequences, which are unfortunately disrupted by Jerry Stiller's humorless appearances and by shameless bits of overacting by the supporting cast. Pop-singer-turned-actress Taylor Dayne turns in a respectable
performance as Serena, although she hams up her final dramatic speech.
Its unrestrained melodrama aside, STAG remains a passable drama that scores primarily because of quick pacing and strong lead performances. (Violence, nudity, sexual situations, adult situations, substance abuse, profanity.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1997
- Rating: R
- Review: A harrowing tale of a bachelor party gone awry, STAG is a sometimes gripping, sometimes frustrating suspense drama that originally premiered on HBO and was subsequently released to video. Engaged attorney Victor Mallick (John Stockwell) arrives at his pos… (more)