The 2015 edition of the Slamdance Film Festival kicked off this week with the world premiere of Bloodsucking Bastards – a horror comedy in the spirit of Office Space, only with vampires. A lot of cross genre attempts only do one or the other well or fall completely on their faces. But this one is a real gut buster (figuratively and literally) loaded with rapid-fire humor and buckets of blood certain to entertain the most discerning horror fan.
Fran Kranz (Cabin in the Woods) stars as Evan, an ambitious employee at an office job where they sell as-seen-on-TV junk over the phone. He’s having a rough day. He’s in the doghouse with his girlfriend Amanda (Emma Fitzpatrick) because when she confessed her love for him, his stunningly idiotic reply was “No.” And now the sales manager position he figured was in the bag has gone to Max (Pedro Pascal), the smug prick who stole his girl in college. How could Evan’s bummer of a day get any worse? Cancer. That would suck. But he doesn’t get cancer. He gets vampires. As his colleagues begin to turn, Evan and his right hand man Tim (Joey Kern) take on the vampiric horde with makeshift weapons found around the office – leading to some ridiculous situations.
Kranz is fantastic as the hard-luck schlub that you can’t help rooting for. He carries the film deftly with his Charlie Brown demeanor, but it’s the supporting cast that really crank this sucker up to a level of greatness. The stand out is Kern (Cabin Fever) as Tim. Kern’s comedic timing and delivery is ridiculous. He spits some seriously quotable lines (“bam snap”) and really drives a lot of the comedy home. Emma Fitzpatrick does a great job riffing off of the stable of foul-mouthed men around the office. Also rounding out the cast is Joel Murray, Parvesh Cheena, Justin Ware, and Marshall Givens, a burly security guard with a fondness for Kelly Clarkson.
The comedy in Brian James O’Connell’s film either lands or it doesn’t, usually when it seems like they’re trying too hard to be raunchy. But when the comedy hits it hits hard and relentless. There’s really no room to breathe in between gags. Fans of sharp potty humor are going to love this one. On the horror tip, Bloodsucking Bastards boasts some impressive makeup and just enough gore. There’s nothing really noteworthy, but what is on the screen looks great and by the end the walls are painted red. Decapitations, head stabbing, and people just plain exploding. It’s all there and it’s all glorious.
O’Connell’s got some indie comedies under his belt that I’m unfamiliar with (Model Ball, Angry White Man), but with Bloodsucking Bastards he displays a real panache for timing and staging ensemble work. The film takes place in one day and night, all within the confines of the office. The vampire rage scenes are staged really well around the cubicles and other office obstacles. Anyone who’s ever worked in a cubicle office environment (myself included) will appreciate a lot of the gags and jabs at office life. The little shit they do in the movie to keep from losing their mind of boredom (juggling staplers, inventing stupid games) is disturbingly relatable.
Also, Bloodsucking Bastards reveals the depressing truth behind fluorescent lighting in offices. Don’t miss this one once it’s released!