I honestly haven’t had this much “fun” while watching a horror movie in quite a long time. Shudder release Vicious Fun is true to the name; it carries immense nostalgic fun for the 80’s slasher horror fan. This comedic horror doesn’t miss a beat to remind us of the best that decade of Americana had to offer, from the classic, neon-infused atmosphere to the accompaniment of 80’s-inspired musical scores. It is a smartly executed tribute to cult horror slashers from the era that gave us some of the most memorable films that the genre exhibits.
It is not easy to make something that’s meant to be gruesome and turn it into content that invokes laughter, yet Vicious Fun pokes fun, no pun intended, at the genre in a clever way. The story development manages to entertain avid horror fans, like myself, by endearingly tugging at our heartstrings.
I lacked to discover any fault in either the pacing, or even the low blow jabs that neatly landed when it made fun of us overly critical horror movie reviewers. The ironic name of the horror magazine, “Vicious Fanatics”, brought a ridiculously large smile to my face. Hmm…maybe I should send in my resume?
The story takes place in 1983 in Minnesota, where an awkward horror magazine journalist, named Joel (Evan Marsh), harbors romantic feelings for his roommate, Sarah (Alexa Rose Steele). Upon realizing that Sarah is dating someone, he becomes extremely jealous. Joel then makes the fateful decision to follow Sarah’s mysterious-looking date.
Finding him at a Chinese Restaurant, Joel then engages the stranger in conversation, hoping to make him reveal a dirty secret that would make Sarah break up with him. However, Joel only manages to get the name of his competition, Bob Nice (Ari Millen), and ends up stuck with the bar tab. To drown his disappointment, Joel goes on a drinking binge. After drunk-calling Sarah on a payphone, he stumbles into a utility closet and passes out for a couple of hours.
After regaining consciousness, Joel immediately overhears voices towards the back of the restaurant. He then encounters a group of strangers engaged in a self-help meeting. The horror journalist is soon petrified to realize that everyone in the group is a serial killer! He temporarily manages to successfully pose as one of them, until questions that he is unable to answer arise, and the main protagonist is finally exposed. Thus, Joel must learn to survive after becoming the serial killers’ new obsession.
The dark comedic charm comes from both inventive, humorous kills and the chemistry between the two main leads, Evan Marsh and Amber Goldfarb. Marsh’s clumsily put together Joel is not only awkward around the opposite sex, but also lacks the street smarts needed to survive his precarious situation. As luck would have it, he meets Goldfarb’s sexy, black leather jacket-wearing Carrie, who is a vigilante version of a femme fatale with a taste for revenge. The pair manages to support each other during the perilous encounter, despite them being complete opposites of each other. There’s also the noticeably refreshing change in having our would-be hero learn a thing or two from a strong female character.
Worth noting is the fact that the story does nothing to improve how most of us feel about law enforcement in our present climate. Hopefully, it will all be taken in good stride as I am sure that it is just meant to be hilarious, and not disrespectful.
In closing, Vicious Fun is one of those movies that earned its place on my repeat list for those days where you just want to have a little…Vicious Fun?