As I sit here, writing my Bloodsucking Bastards review while glancing over my shoulder towards the only entrance to my cubicle, it’s easy to understand the true horrors of this wittily hilarious vampire splatterfest. One quote in particular hits home all-too closely, when a disgruntled character realizes how perfect his “fluorescent shithole” of an office is for a corporate vamp takeover, given how few windows permit the real world’s beauty from cutting through a demoralizing darkness.
Have we not all become bloodsucking drones, clocking in countless hours of work to achieve that next (meaningless) goal just to keep the numbers crunching and dollars flowing (most of which the average worker won’t see)? The horror of Bloodsucking Bastards is not found through vampire bites, but in stinging corporate satire that seems too smart for a horror comedy – and too damn real.
Written by the L.A. comedy troupe Dr. God, Bloodsucking Bastards follows a struggling sales department in desperate need of revitalization. Evan (Fran Kranz) has hopes of one day removing the “Acting” from his “Acting Sales Manager” title, but his boss Ted (Joel Murray) appears to have other plans. Ted announces that Evan’s college rival, Max (Pedro Pascal), will be overhauling the department in order to achieve new levels of success. Max is confident, slick, intelligent, and perfect for the job, but when the company’s biggest slackers start disappearing or abandoning their mediocre ways, Evan believes something sinister is afoot. Like, everyone-in-the-office-is-a-vampire levels of sinister.
What we have here is a total package – laughs, chills, gore, and personality. The settings don’t reach farther than an office supply closet, the sales floor, a file storage room, and the building’s parking garage, but location restrictions mean nothing when working off of a tightly written screenplay. Quality is quality no matter what your budget is, as the (viscera-soiled) cream always rises to the top!
The first act of Bloodsucking Bastards is a bit like a more grounded episode of Workaholics, but as the vampire theme starts to slowly creep in, comedic elements don’t wane in response. Action sequences are balanced dutifully with hilarious nods to anything you might learn in Management 101, like Max explaining to a vampire underling that it’s important not to micromanage your employees – as his vampiric workers are locked in a gooey battle with Evan and his team. It’s a bit of horror comedy that would make Mike Judge blush, and it never backs down from keeping an ongoing connection between business ethics and ghoulish monsters.
More importantly, Bloodsucking Bastards doesn’t skimp on any of the bloodsucking…or bastardization. You’ll be happy to know that Evan is forced to fight his way through now-turned former employees alongside his crush, Amanda (Emma Fitzpatrick), and buddy, Tim (Joey Kern), but you’ll be even happier knowing that each vampire explodes like a head in Scanners upon death.
As expected, many office tools are utilized when dispatching each vampire, from paper cutters to fire extinguishers, and never once does the bloodshed feel repetitive or mundane. Director Brian James O’Connell showcases the ability to make such a small film feel immensely bigger in scope, turning a no-frills office setting into your cleaning lady’s worst nightmare. Horror fans are not ignored for cheap laughs, proving that Dr. God respects all their audiences equally.
The trio of Fran Kranz, Emma Fitzpatrick and Joey Kern are the glue that binds Bloodsucking Bastards, but so many supporting talents ensure this collection of workers provides steady entertainment whether they’re killing time or killing each other. Justin Ware and Michael Hughes embody every workplace’s Tweedledee and Tweedledum, playing video games instead of crushing sales calls, but Joey Kern is their hilarious slacker lord.
If there’s one scene-stealer to point out, it’s undoubtedly Kern, who couldn’t be bothered by the vampire outbreak spreading around him. His lazy acceptance of this horrifying scenario is a special brand of comedy, transcending the levels of “fucks given” into a land well beyond “zero” – all he cares about is clocking out at 5:00PM and blacking out at Kelly Clarkson concerts. If that’s not a comment on how mind-numbingly complacent we’ve become while manning empty, unfulfilling duties, I don’t know what is.
While you’ll probably be too busy laughing hysterically or cringing at each gross vampire explosion, there are plenty of other hidden treats throughout Bloodsucking Bastards worth catching a glimpse of. Do yourself a favor and take a look at the extra office workers who fill cubicles next to the main characters. I’m not telling you WHAT to look for, but I promise you’ll get a few extra laughs given a keen, observant eye. These Dr. God cats thought of everything, and enhance the most mundane moments when you least expect it.
Vampires are back, people. They might not be scaring us around every turn, but with movies like What We Do In The Shadows and Bloodsucking Bastards, I’ll take having fanged comedians over the young-adult-fantasy versions tweens dream about. Add in an office setting, because someone FINALLY connected stereotypical, bloodsucking salespeople with ACTUAL bloodsuckers, and you’ve got a pretty damn funny horror flick. Work sucks, but Dr. God elevates that statement to gleefully vicious levels of genre-smashing beauty.
Now minimize this review before your boss walks by – or watch Bloodsucking Bastards on your smartphone like a corporate rebel. Dare I say it’s worth getting fired over?
Bloodsucking Bastards is the workplace comedy you didn't think you needed, boasting a satirical intelligence that's even sharper than its blood-coated fangs.