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Bloodsucking Bastards (Blu-ray Review)

Bloodsucking-BastardsOn November 3rd, sink your teeth into Bloodsucking Bastards (a.k.a. Bloodsucking Bosses), an action-packed vampire comedy in the vein of Office Space and Shaun of the Dead. Directed by Brian James O’Connell and penned by the popular comedy troupe Dr. God and Ryan Mitts, Bloodsucking Bastards takes audiences on a hilarious, blood-spattered roller coaster ride in the most terrifying locale of all: the American workplace. This film boasts an all-star cast, including Fran Kranz (Cabin in the Woods), Pedro Pascal (Narcos, Game of Thrones), Emma Fitzpatrick (Significant Mother, The Collection), Yvette Yates (Inherent Vice) with Joel Murray (Mad Men) and Joey Kern (Cabin Fever).  Bloodsucking Bastards made its world premiere as the opening night film at the Slamdance Film Festival 2015 and has since played at select U.S. cinemas to great audience enthusiasm. The film was produced by Fortress Features (Brett Forbes, Patrick Rizzotti) in association with Maybe This Year Productions (Brandon Evans), Colleen Hard, and Justin Ware.

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Film 

Evan Sanders, a low-level, dutiful employee stuck in a boring job at a soul-killing every corporation. Evan’s the kind of guy who does all the work and gets none of the credit, but at least he gets to spend his days with his beautiful co-worker/girlfriend Amanda and his slacker best friend Tim, so he soldiers on in the hope of one day getting his coveted sales director position.

Unfortunately, it all falls apart in one fell swoop when Amanda breaks up with him and Evan’s boss Ted hands his promotion to his college nemesis Max. And it isn’t just their sordid past Evan has to deal with. After his fellow officemates start going through disturbing changes (which, paradoxically, make them better employees) and bodies begin to pile up, Evan learns the horrible truth: Max is a vampire. And even worse… a vamp with a plan. Evan must find a way to stop the evil brewing amidst the cubicles, expose Max as the bloodsucking bastard that he is, and save his pals before his life and career go from dead-end…to just dead.

Bloodsucking Bastards is a very solid piece of comedy-horror entertainment.  Really simple pitch here; its Office Space with Vampires.  And really, the vampire material sits in the background for a lot of it to promote not only the humor, but to build our characters and their relationships with one another.  The film impressively gives its characters and story more to do than just look into the mystery of office foul play and fight vampires.  There are actual work stakes at hand in the film that are important as well as a romantic relationship and one of a former friends as rivals.  That’s why I think this one works so well.  The vampires are pretty basic in their nature, but the rest of the happenings going are what get focused on and make this one a bit more special.

This cast in the film is game for this thing too.  Everyone is on the same page when it comes to the humor and line deliveries in the film.  Nobody is trying to steal scenes or go over the top at all.  The humor works and I found myself laughing pretty well at many jokes and personalities.  The script combined with the performers have a good sense of comedic timing.  Fran Kranz of Cabin in the Woods takes lead here, and he’s funny but more of the straight man role.  The funniest role goes to Joey Kern who kills it as the biggest slacker in the office.  He’s a little in his own world and hilarious.  Pedro Pascal from Game of Thrones also lights up the screen with every line he delivers (I was shocked when I realized who he was on Game of Thrones-Oberyn Martellas its almost like a completely different person!).  I don’t know much about Emma Fitzpatrick, but I really enjoyed her here and would like to see more of this adorable actress in the future.

Scream Factory has been touting this movie for many months now since they acquired it, and its definitely worthy of their hype.  This movie is really funny and delivers the blood, guts and action at all the appropriate places in the film.  It runs at a well managed pace and has a cast that is able to deliver and drive this thing at every corner it turns.  Bloodsucking Bastards is one of the very best in Scream Factory original or modern features that they’ve put out and every horror fan should check this thing out.  The film is always aware of what it is and never goes too far or comes up too short.  It delivers just right for 84 minutes.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Clarity/Detail:  For a modern image, this one looks pretty darn good.  I feel it could be a little better, but this more than gets the job done.  Its a hair soft, but people in this mix look nice and full.  Clothing detail is impressive as you can see slacker wrinkles, pleats in pants, patterns, threads and the like.  Colors are full and bold.  Its lacking a little sharpness and feels like it has maybe a filter on it causing a murky look.

Depth:  Depth is quite good.  Background imagery is discernible as focus allows.  Spacing between the office furniture, object and people to the environment is good and free.  Movements do appear to have a slight blur at times.

Black Levels:  Blacks are quite nice and deep with an array of shades.  Hair follicles, clothing patterns and the surfaces of objects and such still show detail.  Darker scenes do masque texture and definition as would be expected.

Color Reproduction:  There is a nice array of colors in different shades and tints.  The palette is stocked full here.  Reds & Blues pull through the strongest through their many iterations.  This is an ideal look.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones take on a natural look with a hint of coldness.  Facial features like stubble, razor burn, wrinkles, scars and make-up all come through quite nicely.  Some smoothness happens during faster movements at times.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 Stereo DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics:  The 5.1 track does an excellent job of portraying the office atmosphere.  It almost makes me feel like I’m at work.  There is are nice well rounded and nicely defined sound effects that feel full and as if they are happening in the same room as you.  The score is woven wonderfully into this mix, knowing when it has its turn to take the forefront and when to hang back and let the effects or vocals take lead.  This balance works out quite well for a healthy mix.

Low Frequency Extension:  The subwoofer mainly gets used her for musical hits.  There are some action beats that contain a boost from the LFE as well, but this is a dialogue heavy film.

Surround Sound Presentation:  Action and character’s movements is choreographed with nice precision through the front 3 channels.  Volume accuracy on distance placement in the frame is terrific.  The rear speakers mainly provide ambiance and assistance in the score.  There are some sounds and actions unique to them, so don’t count them out.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is loud and at the forefront.  Words are clear and every bit of breath and enunciation is captured.

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Extras 

Audio Commentary

  • With Dr. God – The comedy group who made the film doing the commentary, not some crazy character.  Between them they produce, direct, write and star in the film.  I think there’s four of them.

Outtakes (HD, 3:21) 

BSB: On Set (HD, 3:45) – Just some loose on-set footage with clips from the movie intercut.

Trailer (HD, 2:31)

Easter Eggs

  • Cat (HD, 4:15) – Dave from the movie in video blog talks about the medical health of his cat “Puddles” among some other things
  • Printer (HD, :19) – A clip of the janitor getting mad about a woman not recycling.
  • Restroom (HD, :28) – A cam footage of someone getting a beatdown in the women’s room.
  • Soup (HD, :25) – Cam footage from the lunch room with a head in the fridge.

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Summary 

Bloodsucking Bastards is a fun spin on mixing pretty much Office Space with Vampires.  Its a fun jaunt through humor and some horror bloodshed.  The cast in this thing is full of people you know but don’t see a lot and they’re all game for this movie.  Scream Factory provides it with a very good Blu-ray.  The sound and picture quality are well above average.  There’s a nice little array of extras even if there isn’t much depth to a majority of them.  Horror comedy fans should see this one right away and likely pick it up because I feel this one might have a little bit of replay value.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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