Super fun neo-80s meta horror comedy.
Joel is a smug obnoxious horror movie fanboy with more than a small dose of male entitlement and skeevy ego. His Nice Guy TM obsession with his flatmate leads him to tailing the latest guy she’s dating to a bar, in a jank boundary-crossing move. There he proceeds to drown his sorrows at not being appreciated for the romantic devotee and cinephile genius that he is. Passing out in a closet, he awakes after the bar is closed to find a backroom private meeting of a serial killer support group. Having to use all his wits and understanding of horror genre tropes to survive, Joel goes on a bloody nightlong fight for survival.
You’d think starting in such a low and unlikable place with the main character might alienate the audience, but his hapless incompetence and dawning self-awareness makes the movie an upbeat experience. It helps that he’s played by Evan Marsh in a way that rounds the edges off the worst of his character and gives him a plucky appeal.
In fact, the whole cast is awesome. Ari Millen plays the American Psycho archetype Bob, a charming psychopath who leads the murderous troupe. I loved Ari in Orphan Black where he played the Castor clones, so it was great to see him in this, pure revelling in how bombastic and playful he could get with it. Julian Richings is also in it, playing a Gacy-inspired killer clown. You may not recognise the name, but you’d know the face, he’s been in, like, nearly every horror movie made since the 90s. You’ve got comic actor David Koechner as a crazed mercenary with a love for wholesale slaughter. The whole thing’s bananas.
While the self-aware horror movie jokes sometimes stray into being a little self-indulgent, it’s only pleasantly so. Vicious Fun is stylish, funny, with interesting deaths and a killer score, celebrating as it skewers horror movie tropes.