Directed by Brian James O’Connell, Starring: Fran Kanz, Pedro Pascal, Joey Kern, Emma Fitzpatrick. Horror Comedy, US, 2015, 80mins, Cert 15.
Released in the UK on DVD on 16th May 2016 by Entertainment One.
Given its European premiere at FrightFest 2015 (when it was known as BLOODSUCKING BASTARDS), this low-budget comedy horror now finds itself re-titled for its DVD release presumably to make it more palpable to sit on Tesco shelves. Described rather flatteringly as “The Office meets Shaun of the Dead” (it’s not a patch on either and actually features vampires rather than zombies – but let’s not split hairs too much), it does however serve up a few reasonable gags during its belated bloody finale.
Evan (Fran Kanz - the likeable stoner from THE CABIN IN THE WOODS) is trying to get his noncompliant sales team to actually do some work whilst his girlfriend and HR manager Amanda (Emma Fitzpatrick) is giving him the cold shoulder after his abject failure to reciprocate her declaration of love toward him. Seems Evan’s heart is instead focused on finally being able to remove that temporary ‘acting’ label over the ‘Sales Manager’ door sign. Unfortunately Evan is shit out of luck, as his boss has instead chosen to bring in ruthless outsider (and former college enemy) Max (Pedro Pascal) to increase productivity by fair means or foul. While the office lighting dims, and his colleagues gradually becoming paler and uncharacteristically work-focused, Evan comes to the realisation that Max is gradually turning the employees into vampires (or vampire fodder), and it’s left to him and slacker friend Tim to rescue Amanda and take the fight to Max’s vampy sales-force.
Co-written by Dr. God (a Los Angeles comedy group apparently), the first 50+ minutes largely rely on crudely drawn characters delivering a script straining every sinew for laughs which overstretches to the point where the dialogue merely snaps back in the characters faces rather than being snappily witty.
Ironically, the comedy only really begins to bite (no pun intended) once the splatter and vampire stakings are eventually introduced. The exploding gory dispatchments are effectively milked for comedic effect, and the dry-humoured lift scene earns another tick. Not sure what Matthew Lillard’s grinning cameo was meant to achieve (my immediate reaction was: he played ‘Shaggy’ in the SCOOBY DOO movies, wouldn’t Fran Kanz also make a great ‘Shaggy’?) Granted he’s no Ricky Gervais or Simon Pegg, but Kanz does seem to have the knack of getting you to root for his underdog persona – especially when he’s drenched in vamps blood.
Not an obvious contender for induction into the comedy/horror hall of fame by any stretch of the imagination then, but it doesn’t entirely suck either (unlike that lazy pun which clearly does).
Extras: Bloopers, Behind the Scenes, Commentary with Dr. God (no, really!).
***(OUT OF 5*)