Sunday, November 29, 2015

Bloodsucking Bastards – review

Director: Brian James O'Connell

Release date: 2015

Contains spoilers

I received a message from Doc. Despicable asking me if I had seen this film and, whilst the film had been on my radar, I had completely missed the fact that it had received a US release. Nevermind, these things can be rectified and so I have now seen the film and I was somewhat impressed as you'll see.

Setting vampires in an office environment isn’t a totally unique trope and there are some good examples from recent years, for instance the Death of Alice Blue, which prowled through the world of advertising, or even more so Netherbeast Incorporated. Like the latter film Bloodsucking Bastards is a comedy/horror and so runs with the warning that comedy is very subjective.

Evan and Tim
We start with Tim (Joey Kern), his face blood spattered and him suggesting that what he is seeing is the grossest thing ever. We go back in time two days. Tim works in a telesales office and, when I say works, I mean that in the loosest sense of the word. Whilst he is talking to a prospective customer he is online gaming. Indeed co-workers Andrew (Justin Ware) and Mike (Neil W. Garguilo, Mutant Vampire Zombies from the ‘Hood!) are equally as bad as employees. Tim’s friend Evan (Fran Kranz, Rise: Blood Hunter) is the acting Sales Manager and seems ineffectual when it comes to getting any work out of them.

Emma Fitzpatrick as Amanda
Evan also has some pressing issues. He is relying on Tim to build a presentation for Phallicyte, a male enhancement drug, and the company desperately needs the account. His relationship with Amanda (Emma Fitzpatrick) is on the rocks after she said she loved him and he replied “no”. Things should be looking up, however, as his boss, Ted (Joel Murray) is going to make an announcement and he assumes he is to be made Sales Manager. Unfortunately this isn’t the case and Ted announces a newly hired Sales Manager, Max Phillips (Pedro Pascal, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) – someone who Evan’s has history with, having had Max kicked out of school after Max slept with his girlfriend.

Frank, Evan and Tim
Meanwhile strangeness is occurring. A new intern, Jack (Parvesh Cheena), is attacked in the garage – though no-one seems to notice his subsequent absence. Evan sees more and more going on, including finding Mike’s body and it subsequently vanishing. What he isn’t aware of, at first, is that Tim and security guard Frank (Marshall Givens) are also aware of what’s going on. All three of them will need to work together to save Amanda and stop the vampire corporate takeover.

As for lore, some of those attacked by the vampires die and others turn and this is by conscious choice, but we don’t see what the key ingredient, as it were, for turning is. To kill a vampire there is staking or beheading, on death the vampire literally explodes showering anyone close with blood – in fact this is more gory than the vampire deaths in True Blood. When two pencils are crossed together the vampire is not warded, but the film contains no indication whether a true religious icon would impact the vampires. We are told sunlight does kill them but the office has very few windows, to minimise distraction. We see, at one point, hypnotic abilities but these are never really used other than in that scene. There is use of Vamp Face and some metamorphic flesh around claws and hands.

you have to remove the head
Ultimately what makes this work are the characters. Mike is truly obnoxious and yet somehow watchable, Tim is a great character often telling the punchline to a story without the necessary preamble. Evan’s character works really well, developing more and more as the danger ramps up. The acting is all bob on too, and though Evan is the primary character, and very well played by Fran Kranz, Joey Kern’s Tim really does steal the show. There is also special mention to Marshall Givens who is excellent as Frank.

Mike's dead
Lashings of gore (slightly off-colour, but such is life) take the film forward after a while but the humour works equally as well when we just have the office environment. It is character driven, very much, and exaggerated but anyone who has worked in an office will recognise where the comedy has been derived from. Some of the commentary from certain characters is most definitely not PC but the film laughs at those characteristics rather than glorifies them. Comedy, as mentioned, is a very personal thing but this one really resonated for me. 8 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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