Anyone who knows me knows that I’m an easy mark for horror comedies, so it should be no surprise that I adored the hell out of Bloodsucking Bastards, the latest project from the comedic group Dr. God and the producers at Fortress Features (The Collector, The Collection). Like a mash-up of Office Space and Fright Night, Bloodsucking Bastards takes a little time to get going but when it does, the jokes fly almost as fast as the gore, resulting in a feel-good film that’s a wonderful tribute to vampires and raucously deconstructs the modern workplace as well.
Bloodsucking Bastards follows nice-guy Evan (Fran Kranz), the acting sales manager at a small corporate office whose awkward life is about to take an unexpected turn. Expecting to be promoted by his boss (Joel Murray), Evan gets passed over for the sales management position by Max (Pedro Pascal), the smooth-talking nemesis from Evan’s college days. To make matters worse, Evan’s on the outs with his girlfriend, Amanda (Emma Fitzpatrick), who also happens to be the company’s HR manager, and he begins noticing that his fellow co-workers are either disappearing or acting rather strangely. Soon enough, Evan realizes vampires are taking over the office and he must find a way to put an end to their bloodthirsty ways before it’s too late.
While the story itself isn’t revolutionary by any means, it’s the way Bloodsucking Bastards approaches the material that makes it a proverbial home run, cleverly balancing out the horror and humor in equal doses. The entire ensemble for Bloodsucking Bastards all rise to the occasion, especially Kranz, who has been a favorite of mine ever since his scene-stealing performance in The Cabin in the Woods. His role is akin to Charley Brewster in the aforementioned Fright Night—Evan’s the only one who knows what’s happening and no one seems to believe him, so he must step up and become the hero before the vampire situation at work gets too out of hand. Kranz is great, showing fantastic chemistry with the rest of his co-stars, especially his slacker bud Tim (portrayed by the hilarious Joey Kern) and Fitzpatrick as his love interest, Amanda.
As I said earlier, Bloodsucking Bastards does take some time to really get going, both story-wise and with the humor, but when it does, the film works exceedingly well—especially if you’ve ever been stuck in an office environment before. There are little touches throughout the film, both in terms of the characters and certain running gags, that I just appreciated so much. And while I don’t want to say too much (as it would ruin the jokes), what I will say is that Bloodsucking Bastards’ takedown on the hassles of running an office pool is completely spot-on, and that’s just the tip of the comedic iceberg.
There’s also a surprising amount of gore and action in Bloodsucking Bastards, especially during the third act, which I found to be rather ambitious considering that this isn’t a $20 million movie with a huge effects and stunt budget at its disposal. My tip of the hat to special makeup effects artist Mark Villalobos, who had a lot on his plate with the film and does an amazing job making it all work realistically.
2015 has been a fantastic year for horror comedies and Bloodsucking Bastards is yet another reason why I continue to enjoy this subgenre so much. It can be a difficult line to walk, keeping a certain amount of tension running throughout a story while maintaining a level of playfulness throughout, but director Brian James O’Connell walks it confidently. It’s been a while since I laughed this hard at a movie, but Bloodsucking Bastards just hit me hard in all the right ways. For those of you who enjoy your horror with a bit of a slacker comedic twist to it, I cannot recommend Bloodsucking Bastards enough—it’s right up there with What We Do in the Shadows and Deathgasm in terms of great horror comedies I’ve fallen in love with this year.
Movie Score: 4/5