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"Supernatural" The Benders (2006)

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23 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

People Are Crazy – The Scariest Episode of Supernatural

Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
22 December 2006

Dean and Sam go to Hibbing, Minnesota, to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a local. Once there, they realize that there are many missing persons in the place. When Sam vanishes in a parking area, Dean asks for help to Officer Kathleen (Jessica Steen), whose brother also disappear a couple of years ago. Dean and the sheriff disclose that Sam was abducted by a family of deranged hillbillies that hunt human beings.

"The Bender" is the scariest episode of this series up to this moment. In this tense story, the Winchester brothers do not face demons, ghost or fiends, but sick human beings worse than their usual enemies. I liked the open scene when Kathleen kills the father of the Benders; it is not explicit, and each viewer is allowed to have his or her own interpretation. In my point of view, justice worked through the hands of the female sheriff. My vote is ten.

Title (Brazil): "A Família Bender" ("The Bender Family")

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13 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Good old boys

Author: zeppo-2 from United Kingdom
23 May 2006

Good episode for the simple fact there are no monsters in this one. Well,actually there are but they are human ones, which makes this one of the most scary in the series.

Vampires, zombies, demons and other assorted types of their ilk may make for interesting viewing, but we know in our heart of hearts that they are not lurking around the corner for us. Whereas with human killers, that is not the case. The brothers enter a missing people scenario thinking it the work of the type of creatures they hunt. Only to find it is all too human and with the aid of a almost friendly female sheriff, they discover the depths of evil that people can sink to.

A good 'Deliverance' type plot on dry land and a satisfying conclusion make this an excellent addition to the ongoing series.

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10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

The tension of a real crime film

Author: Red_Identity from United States
9 September 2010

The Benders is a key element to the series, simply because it reminded the audience how frightening humans can be and how similar they are to the daily monsters shown in the series.

The episode has some very terrifying villains, and it has the direction and cinematography look to that of a real crime/thriller film. It is punchy and not afraid to show the real nature of what people like this can do, and in that respect it reminded me of Rob Zombie's brilliant The Devil's Rejects. Anywways, one of the season's best and sure to please all of Supernatural's fans, even when, there is nothing supernatural about the situation.

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Good, but a little different

Author: mm-39 from Winnipeg
4 September 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

One of the first shows where the brothers go against humans instead of the supernatural. Benders storyline was too condensed for a one hour show; a possible second part could have been warranted. The writers could have given more character development of the deranged farm family. The motive or build up of the family could create great story tension. Benders is a homage of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and other similar films such as Wrong Turn. Every time the viewer sees the chilling farmhouse, he or she can remember a similar movie/story with the vacant and lonely rural house. Dean and Sam show the brother's bond growing stronger with Dean going out on a limb to save his brother Sam. In the end the female officer lets the brothers disappear to carry on with their important mission.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

The Winchesters vs....Humans?

Author: hotcountry_chick from Moncton, NB, Canada
25 May 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The episodes of the first few seasons of Supernatural have focused on many different urban legends, from the infamous Hook Man and Bloody Mary to more subtle foes, like shapeshifters, Wendigos, and Croatoan viruses. In "The Benders", Sam and Dean learn that sometimes, the things that go bump in the night are not what we should truly be afraid of.

The episode pays homage to "redneck" horror movies, notably The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. "The Benders" begins with the boys interviewing a little boy, who claims to have heard a weird screeching sound, followed by the disappearance of a forty-something man. After the interview the Winchesters head to the local watering hole, discussing the case. Their father's co-ordinates seem to lead them to the locale, but other than the little boy's testimony, nothing supernatural seems to be going on. The brothers decide to go back to their hotel for the night and tackle the case in the morning, but Dean needs to take a quick pit-stop first. Thus Sam heads out to the parking lot alone, and ultimately vanishes. Dean returns to find Sam's papers on the trunk of the Impala, and his brother nowhere to be found.

Desperate, Dean turns to the local sheriff (under an assumed name, of course), claiming that his cousin, one Sam Winchester, has gone missing. The sheriff agrees, and quickly the pair find a lead, but it isn't long before Dean's cover is blown, and he is arrested for impersonating a police officer. Luckily for Dean, the sheriff understands what Dean is going through - her brother had disappeared a few years earlier, in a similar manner - and allows Dean to tag along, at least until Sam is found (dead or alive). Dean agrees, willing to go to jail in order to find his little brother. Meanwhile, Sam wakes up in a cage, in the basement of what seems to be a house in the country. It isn't long before Sam (and the audience) realize that Sam's captors are not supernatural beings, but crazy, murderous rednecks, who take hunting to a new level. And their favorite prey are humans.

"The Benders" is a great, creepy episode, perhaps more scary than the usual Supernatural episode because of the human connection. Ghosts and other similar beings are sort of expected to act how they do - it's natural, and in many cases, a means of survival. But the Benders are a horrific, murdering family - of humans, who should have morals, self control, a conscience. The family is well cast, especially the Bender daughter, Missy. This little girl, dressed in dirty clothes and sporting a wild, unkempt hairdo, seems to be innocent enough (both the sheriff and Dean are fooled by her so-called innocence)but proves to be one of the most violent of them all. Jensen Ackles once again provides a heartfelt performance. Throughout the episode, the viewer can see the fear in his eyes, the choking of his voice, as he struggles to keep calm, trying to remain hopeful that his brother is alive. As he is held captive by the Benders, and hears the fateful gunshot in the basement, Ackles cringes. His performance is so genuine, so powerful. Jessica Steen, how plays Dean's cop sidekick, is also great in this episode. The anger and hurt in her eyes when she finally learns the truth about her brother is so intense, so real. I would enjoy to see her character re-surface in future episode.

"The Benders" is a great, thrilling hour of television. Great acting, great storytelling, and a creepy plot which reminds viewers that sometimes, it's those closest to us which are more horrifying than anything paranormal.

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Another Great Episode

Author: katierose295 from United States
18 March 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is the first episode where Sam & Dean face human villains instead of supernatural monsters. Adapting urban legends is a trademark of the show, and I'm not really sure that this particular tale has a name, but it's still familiar. A family of backwoods crazies kidnap and hunt unsuspecting victims for sport. Anyway, this is a good episode, with a lot of character development between the brothers. Last episode, "Nightmare," made clear to both brothers that Sam's visions are getting worse. For Dean, this knocked his protect instincts towards his little brother into overdrive. And for Sam, it drove him emotionally closer to Dean, who's always been his protector. That bond is shown in "The Benders," as the brothers are separated and end up having to save each other. Basically, if you're watching on DVD, you really shouldn't skip this episode.

"The Benders" revolves around Sam being kidnapped by a creepy family, who hunts humans for fun. Dean & Sam have come to town to investigate some unexplained disappearances. Unfortunately, Sam wanders outside alone and is abducted. Poor Sam is soon locked up in a cage on an isolated farm, with another kidnapped man. The crazy family holding them, murders Sam's cell mate and have similar plans for Sammy. Meanwhile, Dean is frantic to find his little brother. So frantic that he actually goes to the police for help, for once. Since he's still wanted for murder (Thanks to that shape-shifter in "Skin" killing those people and wearing Dean's face) Dean lies to a local police officer named Kathleen, telling her that he's from the state police. He convinces her to help him look for Sam. A video camera of the parking lot that Sam disappeared from gives them a clue and soon the two of them are hot on Sam's trail.

It turns out that Kathleen's brother was also kidnapped and killed by the crazy family years before. Kathleen is soon abducted by them, too, and Dean has to sneak onto the farm and try to save the day. He is incredibly relieved to find Sammy alive, but he can't get the cages open without a key. Dean is also sort of repulsed by the idea that humans are behind the disappearances. ("Demons I get. People are just crazy.") As he tries to find the key, he is captured, too. The family says that they will kill Sam, Dean, & Kathleen. But Sam gets out of the cage and saves Dean. Kathleen kills the father of the murdering family. Then she tells Sam & Dean to get out of town before the police show up and start asking questions. Sam & Dean start off down the road together again. Dean mutters that the next time Sam gets into trouble, Dean's not gonna come looking to find him. "Yeah, you will." Sam replies.

There are some good parts to this episode. I have to laugh when Dean tries to explain why he looks nothing like the real police officer, whose identity he's stolen. He looks at the photo of the large, African American man who he was pretending to be and sort of winces, "Well, I've lost a lot of weight. And I have that Michael Jackson skin disease thing." It makes me smile. I really enjoy Dean when he's all over protective of Sammy. They have such a cute relationship. Dean can go from making fun of Sam's love of the remake of "Godzilla," to begging Kathleen for help because Sam's been his responsibility ever since the fire in Lawrence, to threatening to kill the entire crazy if the touch his brother. Dean's just so cute. And I like Sam in this episode, since it's really Sammy who gets out of the cage. He's pretty clever. And I think it's cool that Kathleen takes revenge for her brother by shooting the creepy father guy.

Really there's a lot of people attacking others because they pose a threat to their family in this episode. Dean threatens the crazy family for Sam, the creepy father threatens Kathleen for his family, and Kathleen kills the father because he murdered her brother. It's interesting. Finally, I like Dean's conversation with the creepy family while he's tied to the chair. He's still not willing to back down from being a smart-ass. "Oh, eat me. Wait, no, I forgot, you actually might." But at the same time he's worried about what they might do to Sam. When they tell him to choose which person they'll hunt next, Sam or Kathleen, Dean hesitates. You can see him trying to figure out which option will give Sam the best chance of survival. When the family finally decided to kill both Sam and Kathleen, Dean's rage is actually sort of scary.

On the downside, there's something wrong with the way Dean gets out of those handcuffs. Kathleen cuffs him to the car door, and then Dean picks the lock of the cuff around his wrist. But, the crazy family is already coming down the road, as he works on it. Next we see that Dean has escaped and that the handcuffs are gone. But, unless Dean took the time to also pick the lock on the handcuff side that was still attached to the cars door, it just doesn't seem to make sense.

My favorite part of the episode: Dean describing himself to Kathleen, while pretending to be a policeman. "Yeah, Dean. He was kind of the black sheep of the family... Handsome, though." It just makes me laugh every time.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Demons I get. People are just crazy!

Author: zombiehigh18 from Egypt
29 October 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

After the heat of the last episode, The writers decide to give us a break from the climax of the story with another stand alone episode. In this episode the brothers don't fight any supernatural being but merely humans.

When Sam goes missing while the brothers investigate a case, Dean is terrified that he goes to the police for help finding his brother. The monster of the week is no other than a cannibal human family that hunts people for fun.(It's a nice change of air where the brothers face a monster that is not supernatural at all).

The brothers relationship is heading a nice way. I liked it when Dean referred to the sheriff that Sam is his responsibility. The fatherly protective nature of Dean becomes very distinctive."Sam is my responsibility, and he is coming back, I'm bringing him back". And I liked the way he rushed to the cage asking Sam if he was hurt.

It was also cute when Sam gets angry when other people call him Sammy.

It's a creepy good episode wrapped up with humour and some brotherly teasing with good directing and decent acting. But you won't miss much of the story line if you skip it.

My advice watch it just for the fun of it. I give it 9 out of 10.

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Brothers against Evil: Traditional, Flesh & Blood Hillbillies

Author: Coventry from the Draconian Swamp of Unholy Souls
7 February 2009

"Demons follow a strict pattern, ghosts want revenge … People are just crazy!" This piece of dialog, which is an actual quote taken from the show, is the best possible summarization of this fifteenth episode in the magnificent show "Supernatural". So far, this is the only installment that doesn't live up to the name, as there's absolutely nothing supernatural about the type of evil the Winchester brothers encounter here. Whilst scouting around in a remote Minnesota countryside town where there is a mysteriously large amount of unsolved missing person cases, Sam himself disappears in a parking lot. With the help of a local police detective, Dean quickly discovers the root of the evil. Rather than mythological monsters or restless spirits, the brothers are up against the sickest and most unpredictable kind of enemy. A family of hillbilly hunters deranged as hell and probably as inbred as they come, uphold their tradition of capturing unsuspecting people and hunt them down again in the woods. "The Benders" is definitely the most effectively unsettling episode of the first season because, let's face it, there's nothing scarier than flesh and blood human beings. The Bender family is a collection of eerie redneck freaks, with obligatory bad dental hygiene and sniveling laughs, and their modus operandi of abducting victims and holding them is inventive but admittedly a bit too sophisticated for a bunch of yokels. The basic plot of "The Benders" is inspired by one of the oldest but still one of the greatest horror/cult movies ever made, namely "The Most Dangerous Game". This 1932 film has been imitated numerous times, with variable success, but never surpassed in terms of quality. This "Supernatural" episode brings another terrific homage to the cinematic landmark. Due to the typically remote backwoods setting and the archetypal redneck characters, the script is also stuffed with references and little tributes towards tons of other 'Hicksploitation' movies, most notably "Deliverance", "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "Just Before Dawn".

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4 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Really? Why do we get the crazy hillbilly episode?

Author: cadeau5 from United States
10 September 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Okay, I like the examination of people being monsters rather than the supernatural. What I don't like is that it is supposed to take place in Hibbing, Minnesota. It looks not even the tiniest bit like Hibbing. I live 30 minutes away from there. I know, often they don't design the set or choose to film in the actual location due to convenience. But come on. No northern Minnesotans like me would ever buy this place as Hibbing, let alone Minnesota. I think the writers just looked at a map of Minnesota and picked a name at random. Plus the crazy people all had nearly southern accents. Before I watched the episode, I prepared myself for the usual "Minnesotan accent" every Hollywood production tries to perform. But this time they skipped that attempt and went straight for "Deliverance" type accents. And why is it assumed that because we're people in Northern Minnesota, we're crazy enough to kill people for the heck of it? Why do we get that stereotype? Especially when the episode was based off of an incident that happened in Kansas? So I like the show. I like the idea. I don't like the execution. Either make it look like Hibbing, or don't call it that. Make up a name. Alter the name. And also check the name of the county. There is no such place as "Hibbing County."

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