- Posted by John Squires
- On September 4, 2015
- 0 Comments
- Fran Kranz, vampire
Billy Corgan once sang that “the world is a vampire,” and though interpretations of the Smashing Pumpkins song vary, that iconic line is one that’s not hard to relate to. Our lives, specifically our jobs, have a way of draining our life essence and reducing us to mindless slaves, not unlike the process of becoming vampires. That’s the social commentary at work in this year’s latest horror-comedy effort.
Written by Ryan Mitts and ‘Dr. God,’ and directed by Brian James O’Connell, Bloodsucking Bastards centers on the lazy employees of a corporate marketing firm. After Evan loses his promised promotion to a new hire with whom he shares an unpleasant past, things become stranger than usual around the office, and he soon realizes that the new boss is turning his co-workers into blood-suckers.
One thing nobody can take away from Bloodsucking Bastards is that the cast is a real treat, specifically for fans of genre cinema. Fran Kranz and Joey Kern, who were respective highlights of horror films The Cabin in the Woods and Cabin Fever, star as best friends Evan and Tim, while God Bless America‘s Joel Murray plays their boss. Sounds like a recipe for guaranteed horror-comedy success, doesn’t it?
Indeed there’s nothing bad to say about the cast in this one, as they all do a commendable job having fun with the material and attempting to make something of it. Marshall Givens is a particular joy to watch as energy drink-obsessed security guard Frank, while Pedro Pascal is suitably obnoxious as head vampire Max. But it’s a bummer that the cast is so solid, because the movie totally wastes them all.
Bloodsucking Bastards takes what is an unfunny and not-quite-clever commentary on office culture and painfully spreads the one-note joke out to feature length. And though the film runs a mere 80-minutes long, the perfect length for a quick dose of bloody humor, there’s just not enough going on with this one to justify it running even that long. There’s no heart, no humor, and surprisingly little horror.
Worse yet, Bloodsucking Bastards is just plain boring, devoid of interesting characters and so dull that it’s likely to suck the life right out of you – which I suppose is ironic, given its intention of condemning the ole 9-5 for doing just that. It’s a full hour before the fangs come out and the blood starts to decorate the walls, and the script just isn’t funny enough to keep the preceding office banter entertaining.
The laughs, which often come courtesy of the performances rather than the actual dialogue or situations, are painfully few and far between, so Bloodsucking Bastards mostly fails as a comedy. And it doesn’t fare much better as a horror film, spewing fountains of blood in the final 15 minutes but never managing to have any fun doing so. And what fun is mindless gore if the gore isn’t, well, fun?
Without a clever bone in its body, Bloodsucking Bastards‘ attempt to satirize cubicle culture fails to hit its mark, the film completely lacking any sort of bite. Of course, that wouldn’t matter if the movie was as entertaining as one bearing its title and concept by all means should be, but alas, that title is mostly the only thing worthwhile here – at least, I suppose, it compels you to drop the money on a rental.
There’s one point in the film where Evan tries to explains to his ex-girlfriend what’s going on at the office. Thinking he’s making some sort of joke, she exclaims that the perceived game he’s playing is “not funny, or endearing, or working.” That line stuck in my mind throughout the remainder of Bloodsucking Bastards, in the end almost perfectly summing up my feelings on the movie as a whole.
If you’re in the mood to watch loveable slackers battling monsters, you might just want to revisit Shaun of the Dead. Because Bloodsucking Bastards is as dull as the jobs we all wish to escape from.