Set in the early eighties, Vicious Fun follows Joel (Evan Marsh), a horror-film critic who lives up to nigh every movie-geek cliché. He looks down on writers and directors, believing he has ideas better than theirs, and spends most of his evenings in front of what I can only assume is a Betamax player.
One drunken evening, stalking a man Joel believes to be his roommate/crush’s current beau, he stumbles into an addiction support group. Alcohol? Drugs? Gambling? No, rather one for serial killers. Joel is all of a sudden forced to rely on his horror-movie ideas to stay alive.
Here’s the thing about Joel: his unwritten movie's premise is so flawed that it takes Bob (Orphan Black’s Ari Millen) a literal minute to see through it. Joel is all but dead before Carrie (Amber Goldfarb) steps in and saves him right before the inevitable is about to happen. But what is her motive to keep him alive?
That’s the big question, I suppose, and though Vicious Fun never goes into any particularly profound areas, it more than lives up to its name. A support group for serial killers? It makes for some crisp dialogue from some of the better character actors in the business.
Let’s take a second to talk about the cast, or rather David Koechner in particular. I like Koechner, be it as the larger-than-life loudmouth in Anchorman or the larger-than-life loudmouth in Krampus. His turn as a larger-than-life loudmouth in Twin Peaks: The Return? Impeccable! This is a man who sits with 202 acting credits on IMDb, most of which I can only imagine were shot in a day. I have more than a sneaking suspicion that Koechner will be there if you offer up a bottle of good Scotch, and he’ll give it his all.
It’ll come as little surprise, then, that he portrays a larger-than-life loudmouth serial killer in Vicious Fun, and every minute he appears on screen – granted, not many – is a joyful one. Fun, if you so like.
And the vicious part? Well, the (many) kills are quite graphic, well in line with the plot.
The majority of the movie is set in two locations, and director Cody Calahan takes good advantage of both. Vicious Fun feels a lot bigger than it actually is.
It’s just an amusing movie, really. One of those where you can sit back and be entertained without having to get too emotionally invested in the story. I don’t mean that as a backhanded compliment – those are my preferred type of films.
As vicious as it is fun, Vicious Fun is one of this year’s surprise finds for me.
Letterboxd summary: A loser whose life is passing him by accidentally stumbles into a secret underground self-help group for serial killers. Stuck with only two options - kill or be killed - Joel must match wits with five killers and make it through the night alive.
Ratings from around the web
|One Star Classics||4/6|