There is a theory out there that you’ll walk past twenty to thirty murders in your lifetime. That’s scary, isn’t it? The thought that there are so many killers out there that you would casually just bump into them at a grocery store, on the train, or in a local bar is so frightening.
But what would happen if you stumbled across seven of them at once?
That’s what happens in Cody Calahan’s delightfully devilish horror-comedy Vicious Fun.
The film revolves around horror-film critic Joel who is desperately in love with his housemate Sarah. However, she is dating the cool Bob. After she returns from their date, Joel decides to follow Bob to a remote bar on the outskirts of down. When Bob unknowingly (and somewhat knowingly) belittles Joel, the hapless writer decides to drown his sorrows, resulting in an utter blackout. Waking up in a supply closet sometime later, Joel stumbles upon a self-help group…for serial killers. Now he has to try and blend in just to survive.
Set in the eighties, Vicious Fun is dripping with neon and blood. The highly amusing premise could have flailed instantly but thanks to Calahan’s direction and James Villeneuve’s impressive script, the movie feels fresh. From the disgusting deaths to the droll dialogue, this movie at times skewers serial killer movies whilst also celebrating them at the same time. The meta commentary in the midst of a ludicrously good time.
It helps that there are some truly magnificent performances, particularly on both sides of the fight. Evan Marsh as Joel is a charismatic film nerd who is held back by his social awkwardness and holier than thou film knowledge. Yet underneath is this kind of adorable luckless lead who winds up in a situation he’d much prefer to watch on the screen. Marsh is so likable in a role that could’ve easily been obnoxious.
Ari Millen who plays Bob, is also a riot. He initially plays a douchebag but there are so many more psychopathic layers lurking underneath his slicked back blonde hair and wide-murderous eyes. Millen is utterly captivating and the sparring he has with Marsh are electric. Nearly every second he is on screen, you cannot help but enjoy him.
Props also go to Amber Goldfarb as Carrie, a mysterious character who serves as great foil to the two male characters as she follows her own journey.
Vicious Fun is terrific but the momentum is lost somewhat when the action moves out of the bar location. It would’ve been better if it was kept in the one place, inventing more places to hide and survive. However, the ending is a delicious open book where we are left with the possibility of a sequel. I, for one, would welcome it.
Smart and, at times, side-splitting, this movie is destined to be a winner at midnight screeners.
Calahan’s slick film lives up to its name – it is truly Vicious Fun.
Vicious Fun is playing on Shudder now!