Film Review – Bloodsucking Bastards
Pretty much all I want to do in my life is play board games, read books, and watch horror movies. I intersperse these things with other activities such as eating, making stuff, and interacting with my family, but that’s what is most likely on my mind. (I often do these things with said family, so it’s not like I am completely ignoring them or anything.) I saw my first horror movie when I was around four or five (William Castle’s 13 Ghosts) and I’ve never looked back. (Well, honestly I’m always looking back to make sure the sea-faring ghosts from John Carpenter’s The Fog aren’t creeping up on me. I know you think I’m joking, but I’m more serious than I care to admit.) I am not as easily scared as I used to be, but there is room in my heart for all kinds of horror films, frightening or not. To be honest though, I don’t really care for home invasion or torture stuff, it’s just not my thing. But I do like a horror comedy, and so I was inclined to watch Brian James O’Connell‘s new film Bloodsucking Bastards, a comedy about a sales office undergoing some unsettling changes in their personnel. It stars Fran Kranz, whom I am always happy to see appear on a screen of any size.
Evan (Kranz) is the acting sales manager of a company that specializes in selling crap. He’d like to be hired as the official sales manager, but that goes the same way everything else in life has been lately – nowhere. His girlfriend Amanda (Emma Fitzpatrick) is angry with him, he can’t get the numbers he needs for an important presentation, and his boss hires his college nemesis Max (Pedro Pascal) for the coveted manager position. Not only is Evan frustrated by his reversal of fortunes; he’s beginning to notice some really weird things around the office. When he finds a dead body in the bathroom, things go from bad to worse, and he calls on the help of his friend (and worst salesman ever) Tim (Joey Kern) and office security Frank (Marshall Givens) to discover what the hell is going on. Turns out, evil is afoot. They uncover a plot to make the office more efficient by a means most unexpected – vampirism! Max has an unorthodox management style, and our heroes need to become part of the program or suffer the consequences.
I enjoyed this movie overall, but it was hard going at first. I’ve seen a lot of folks compare it to the film Office Space, and there is a lot of that kind of workplace humor here, although not nearly as funny. (My husband overheard the first ten minutes and commented later that it sounded “kind of rough.” I assured him it got better.) It’s funny, but not very original and really needed some killing and gore to elevate it. Which it got, although it could have brought it in a little earlier. It’s also kind of a dude movie. Most of the women are defined by their relationships to men, and none of them get any of the funny bits. The film was written by the L. A. comedy group Dr. God – who are also in the movie – and you can tell they saved a lot of the good stuff for themselves. (I feel like I am always harping on this stuff, as well as wanting realistically diverse casting. But it matters, even in horror films. Maybe even especially in horror films, which attract a very diverse audience. Go back and look at how John Carpenter wrote and cast a lot of his films, and then come back to me and talk about how hard it is. If he can do it, so can you. Rant over.)
However, for the most part this is a pretty amiable film. It’s got a lot of blood, which I enjoy, and Fran Kranz is a really engaging screen presence. He and Joey Kern have good chemistry as they fight evil together, and the film’s subtext of corporate bosses being bloodsuckers is nice and light, but definitely there. It’s a fun film, and should you be so inclined to see it, I would go for it. It’s not scary, but the gore level is pretty decent and if you can get through a slowish first act, there is a lot here to enjoy. I kind of feel like I’m going a little soft on this one, but it’s charms did outweigh its faults, and I had a good enough time to recommend it.