Story Details

New Releases: Vicious Fun (2021) - Reviewed

Posted By themoviesleuth 1089 days ago on Entertainment -  When it comes to killers, there are all different kinds: male, female; young, old; handsome, hideous.  While there are patterns many of them follow, you can never quite be certain if the person walking past you on the street is a murderer based on looks alone.  They usually look like us, go to the same places as us, and do the same activities as us.In Vicious Fun, we see this notion brought to screen, coated with a thick layer of '80s horror nostalgia for added style.  Joel (Evan Marsh) is a horror film critic whose life essentially becomes a horror film after a night of bad decisions.  Pining after his beautiful roommate, Joel’s compelled to follow her dreamy, charismatic boyfriend Bob (Ari Millen) to a Chinese restaurant, where he gets so drunk that he passes out in the storage room and wakes up to discover the staff has locked him in overnight.  As if that weren’t bad enough, Joel discovers a self-help group consisting of an eclectic medley of murderers is having one of their sessions in the restaurant after hours, and Joel accidentally gets roped into the group.  At first he thinks his superior knowledge of horror films will allow him to blend in seamlessly as he pretends to be a ruthless killer like them, but he learns the hard way that what works on the big screen doesn’t always work in real life. Unapologetically cheesy while simultaneously slick, Vicious Fun is exactly what its name suggests.  With humor at the forefront and horror creeping in from the back as the plot thickens, the film never misses an opportunity for a gag, but also doesn’t shy away from gag-worthy moments.  It has a tone similar to one of the more lighthearted Tales From the Crypt episodes, chock-full of one-dimensional but darkly delightful characters that feel straight out of an EC comic book, ranging from an elderly clown who kills with syringes and a yakuza killers who has a hankering for human flesh.   One of the greatest aspects of this film is the choice to give it a stylized '80s backdrop.  Its synth-heavy score never fails to set a mood, and the saturated colors of the cinematography are candy for the eyes.  The '80s look and sound add extra layers to the film, and their omission would have made it  not nearly as appealing.  Nevertheless, there’s still an essence that seems to root itself in the present day, despite retro references like Falcon Crest being on television, ensuring that it actually does take place in the 1980s.  This results in the film giving the audience a slight wink that we should view this as a campy '80s horror film in tone, even if certain visual cues are telling us otherwise. The pacing of the film is also noteworthy:  it wastes little time on tedious exposition and trims most of the fat out, knowing if something is ambiguous at the time, the audience will eventually figure it out without their hand being held.  Much like reality, however, when the cops enter into the picture, they are a bit of a downer.  They bring down the zippy pacing of the film for a few tedious scenes of unnecessary dialogue filled with groan-worthy jokes.  This is only a minor dampener to the film, however, and the pacing picks back up again for the climax. Vicious Fun is indeed vicious fun.  Filled with laughs, creative killers, and some great shots, director Cody Calahan makes this Shudder original one for the watchlist if you can appreciate a horror film that is heavy on the humor and lighter on the horror.  Check it out next time you want to smile more than be scared, but are looking for a little of the latter, too. --Andrea Riley    (function() { var zergnet = document.createElement('script'); zergnet.type = 'text/javascript'; zergnet.async = true; zergnet.src = (document.location.protocol == "https:" ? "https:" : "http:") + '//'; var znscr = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; znscr.parentNode.insertBefore(zergnet, znscr); })();

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