Apart from the running themes of “phone sales is a soul sucking job” and that the corporate ladder is full of bloodsucking bastards, this indie horror/comedy feels very much like “The Office” (The American version.) on LSD and amphetamines. It is amusingly awkward and funny but, oddly, dated.
Starring Fran Kranz, Joey Kern, Joel Murray and Emma Fitzpatrick (as the love interest) Bloodsucking Bastards was directed by Brian James O’Connell – his third time up in the chair . It was written by Ryan Mitts and the comedy “conglomerate” Dr. God. It follows Evan Sanders (Kranz) as he experiences the two worst work days ever.
Evan breaks up with Amanda (Fitzpatrick) and is passed over for promotion by his fickle boss Ted (Murray). As acting sales manager none of his team are actually doing much in the way of sales. New manager Max (Pedro Pascal) is brought in to rejuvenate the company’s profits and its employees.
From the moment Max arrives things start happening, co-workers disappear, or change completely. Some have their work ethic improved dramatically. Evan appears to be the only one who notices these changes until slacker Tim (Kern) and security guard Frank (Marshall Givens) realize something is amiss.
The comedy is a bit hit or miss but overall the inter-office politics and interactions are pretty much spot on. The “slacker” ratio is fairly high and the manager is definitely not a “people” person. In other words pretty much like “The Office” (either version).
Max, as the new “invigorating” sales manager is obsequious and as phony as a three dollar bill. It also turns out that Evan’s fears are not unfounded. Something is actually going on at the business and his co-workers have become something else.
There are some funny lines. For example, Kranz’s character gets incredibly frustrated at one point and yells out “F**k, f**k, f**kity, f**k.” It is funny in a South Park sort of way although the phrase is the height of urban displeasure vocalized.
Sidenote: Matthew Lillard has a “blink and you’ll miss it” cameo towards the end of the film.
Bloodsucking Bastards is a modern vampire tale mixed with the soul destroying job of phone sales, or cold calling as it is known in England. Kranz is a sort of “Everyman” character who shoots to a sort of inept greatness when he discovers what is really going on.
As a comedy the film is not overtly amusing. The humor is more chuckle-worthy than “laugh-out-loud” funny. The cast all work well together although each character is two dimensional. This has the effect of thwarting the “real factor” which damages “The Office” premise.
It is put together well by director O’Connell. The FX fit and the exploding body bit works well as a sly dig at the more “common” results of staking a vampire. Buckets of screen blood are splashed over the protagonists. While there is an impressive amount of the red stuff, it is not too overwhelming.
The script for Bloodsucking Bastards does meander a tad. The film takes its time morphing into its horror theme. When it does finally make the transition it continues its corporate dogsbody theme.
This is a 3.5 star film, earning a full star for Joel Murray and Fran Kranz alone, and well worth watching at least once. Bloodsucking Bastards is streaming on Showtime at the moment.
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