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Slamdance 2015: BLOODSUCKING BASTARDS (review)

Review by Dean Galanis
Produced by Alain Bransford, Kyran Danaher,
 Jason Egan, Tony Keily, Patrick Stapleton, 
William Treadwell, Brandon Evans, Brett Forbes, 
Colleen Hard, Gregory Morse, Patrick Rizzotti
Written by Dr. God, Ryan Mitts
Directed by Brian James O’Connell
Starring Franz Kranz, Pedro Pascal, Joey Kern, 
Yvette Yates, Joel Murray, Emma Fitzpatrick

Self-described Shaun of the Dead meets The Office, Bloodsucking Bastards is a failed horror comedy that isn’t anywhere near the same league as the above. Joss Whedon vet Fran Kranz (The Cabin in the Woods, Much Ado About Nothing) brings his usual professionalism and panache to a project that really doesn’t deserve it; anyway, he plays an office drone who is demoted at work, eroding his already tenuous enthusiasm for his workplace.

When his coworkers start turning into vampires, well, ya know, wackiness and strained satire follow.

Kranz emerges nearly unscathed, and really tries to sell his character and the laughs, but to little avail.

His fellow actors don’t come off as well, but the film looks as if everyone was left to their own devices, and some of the performers actually appear to be squirming onscreen.

The technical aspects are poor, also – the sets, such as they are, at times resemble a 1970s suburban basement, and the staging is stunningly bad. Most of the film is played out in nail-down-the-camera master shots; this, combined with the cheap-ass sets, give the film the look of really, really bad theater most of the way.

The effects are passable but unimaginative, and to reiterate, this shit ain’t funny. It does feel like bad theater – the kind where half or more of the audience bolts at intermission – or a truly failed sitcom. In fact, if it weren’t for Kranz in the lead (is the producer his cousin? Did he lose a bet?) this would look like a thousand other forgotten, straight-to-streaming wastes of time.

Amazingly, the film DOES get marginally better as it goes along, but that’s saying very, very little. Kranz indeed has some moments, as do one or two of his costars, but this is mostly just tired, annoying and unfunny.

The premise isn’t remotely clever or even interesting, the execution worse; horror comedies are certainly tricky, but these guys (save Kranz) didn’t even try. National Lampoon’s Class Reunion had more laughs.

No, honestly.

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