With a witty, well observed script and winning performances by the leads, Bloodsucking Bastards (known as Bloodsucking Bosses in the UK) manages to rise above a lack of scares, terrible sets and a clichéd final third.
Well here’s a surprise. Last night, unable to sleep due to the sticky weather the UK is currently in the throes of, I stumbled upon Bloodsucking Bastards (Bloodsucking Bosses over here) whilst channel surfing on Sky. Everything about the film from the terrible logo to the cheap SyFy channel opening credits screamed of low-budget trash but I suppressed the urge to switch over and I have to admit I was glad I did.
“This is the grossest thing I’ve ever seen”
From the moment that Joey Kern’s office slacker Tim utters these words the film hooked me with its witty dialogue, office observations and loveable characters.
The plot is standard low-budget horror fare as it follows Evan (Fran Kranz), a twenty something loser who’s only goal in life is to progress along the lower end of the management chain at the medical supplies company he works. Oh and he’s desperate to win his girlfriend Amanda (Emma Fitzpatrick) back after his “No” faux pas when responding to her declaration of love.
After a morning trying to wrangle the motley crew of office staff into actually doing some work for a change, Evan sees a light at the end of the tunnel when his boss declares he has an important announcement for the staff. Assuming this finally means he is to be made sales manager, Evan and his crew go about their usual chores of watching porn, playing basketball with balls of paper and staying behind after hours to play video games on the company’s high-speed internet, only for their “perfect routine” to be shattered when the wonderfully OTT Max (Pedro Pascal) is introduced in the position that Evan so coveted. Max is clearly hiding something and coupled with his history with Evan and his attempts to lure Amanda the two are immediately set at odds. What ensues is a build up of office tensions until Max’s secret is finally revealed and the film descends into a predictable, scare free third act that creaks under its low-budget.
“her singing actually sings”
Where the film really won me over is in the witty dialogue between the office staff and their slacker behaviour, which will be familiar to anyone who has ever worked in a call centre, as they go about their day-to-day routine of trying to do as little work as possible whilst not getting fired. The main proponent of this is Kelly Clarkson fan Tim (a wonderfully laid back Joey Kern) who thinks that putting a tally on the sales board counts as a sale and who’s main client is his mother. His dialogue with Evan and office security guard, Frank (the deadpan Marshall Givens) is the source of the majority of the films humour and had me laughing out loud on more than a few occasions (the exploding burrito in a “conventional oven” is still making me chuckle now).
The film’s humour is easily its greatest asset and goes someway to gloss over its shortcomings. Firstly, for a horror film it isn’t at all scary. The set pieces that would normally bring shocks to the proceedings are rushed through (except for the meaty third act) and highlight the films biggest problem – a lack of budget. The sets look like the stationary corner of an Ikea store and the climactic confrontation between Max and Evan is poorly staged and suffers from terrible make up and effects. A larger budget could have helped expand the sets and create better special effects that stood up to camera framing and allowed more visual scares and less cramped cinematography. The film also misses quite a few interesting opportunities to flesh out the characters, especially in the main protagonist Evan, who is more driven than the others with no real explanation as to why and his frustration at his fellow work colleagues foiling his attempts to better himself gets very little screen time.
“It’s a feminine penis.”
A lack of budget, 0 scares and a paper-thin script doesn’t prevent Bloodsucking Bastards from being an entertaining horror comedy with well observed and witty performances by most of the cast (Joey Kern and Pedro Pascal in particular) and some cracking one liners and well observed humour.
Gore: 2 out of 5
Lots of blood and the odd guillotine to the head but not very graphic.
Scare Factor: 1 out of 5
Gets the 1 mark for the aforementioned blood but no real scares of note.
Nudity: 0 out of 5
Not even an erect nipple through a blouse.
Overall: (out of 5)