Horror and comedy have always gone hand in hand. Laughs often alleviate the tension and who doesn’t crack a smile at the goriest, over the top scenes of horror? But the true horror-comedy, a purposeful bland of the two genres can be trickier to pull off than you think. When it works, it can produce wonders such as Shaun of the Dead, Brain Dead and last years horror hit, Wyrmwood. But when it doesn’t work, eurgh… That’s when things can go horribly wrong. But what happens when the comedy takes over and the laughs outweigh the horror? Well you get fantastically funny, bloodsoaked comedy like Bloodsucking Bastards.
Cranking up the laughs to eleven, Bloodsucking Bastards is the Office Space of the horror genre, a blood-filled Workaholics (for those that have seen that particular gem of a TV show) for the slacker in all of us. The film tells the story of Evan, the acting sales manager for a company that tries to sell its customers as many cheap and nasty “As Seen on TV” products as they can. Only Evan, and his buddies Max and Andrew, are terrible salesmen. Max spends his day playing video games and creating odd office games with Andrew instead of making sales, whilst Even must chase his tale just trying to get the pair to do their work so he can do his.
On top of that Evan has fallen out with his girlfriend Amanda, who also happens to be the office HR manager! Worst of all? Evan is passed over for promotion by his boss, replaced as sales manager by his arch-nemesis from college, Max, who stole his college sweetheart. As if his crappy day couldn’t get any worse, the office seems to have become infected. With vampires. LOTS of vampires.
Based on an original script by first time writer Ryan Mitts, with a script edit from comedy troupe Dr. God, Bloodsucking Bastards is a fast-paced comedy with jokes that come as thick and fast as the blood. Sure, the scattergun approach to the comedy does mean that some jokes don’t land with the punch that they should but the film moves so fast that you’ll be on to the next laugh, the next gory set-piece before you have time to think.
What elevates the film however is the cast. Featuring Fran Kranz, he of Dollhouse and Cabin in the Woods, as the put-upon Evan was a stroke of genius – he perfectly captures the “wants to work hard, without working hard” nature of the character and his delivery is spot on (just watch his flashback-based response to his girlfriend Amanda). But it’s his co-star Joey Kern that really steals the show. Channelling Matthew McConaughey’s Dazed and Confused-era slacker persona, I picture Kerns’ Max as an alternate-history version of his character in skateboarding drama Grind. With the same laid-back delivery, that hits the right note and the perfect timing to land each and every joke with aplomb, really driving the laughs in this fear flick.
As I’ve said in other Frightfest reviews this year, Bloodsucking Bastards is a real “beer and pizza” movie, one that should be a late-night staple for midnight movie fans everywhere.
Comedy, Horror | USA, 2015 |18| Film4 Frightfest 2015 |Dir.Brian James O’Connell |Fran Kranz, Emma Fitzpatrick, Joey Kern, Jacquelyn Palmquist, Pedro Pascal