This review originally appeared at Rogue Cinema, June issue with 1,378 views, thanks to the readers, and now, posting here with changes and updates, as the review conducted while the movie occupied a rightful place on the festival circuit.
Horror comedies are truly an interesting breed in the horror genre, they need to walk a careful balance beam regardless of what subgenre the mixture goes with, zombies, slashers, or vampires, many try to outdo themselves and others realize the limitations and play safely within the boundaries. While zombie films dominate the market for few past years, some of the vampires put away their sparkles and return to true bloodsuckers or even crossbreeding for the endurance of their species. Hence, director Mitchell Altieri, who continues to make some interesting and odd horror flicks since The Hamiltons (2006) and knowing many more projects await on the horizons for his talents, but this movie The Night Watchmen, which completed a successful fest run earned a Blu-ray release from Gravitas Ventures. Even those who enjoy the comedy in horror will need to brace themselves for this highly politically incorrect movie, definitely not for everyone, just a selective audience, to understand the low budget film. As the movie works through the festival circuit, note that while made in United States, the foreign film market obtained the release first, so enjoy it when you can, for the comedic lines, slapstick, and pratfalls. Ken Arnold, who stars in the film, initially conjured the story, while actor Dan DeLuca wrote it with co-writer Jamie Nash, developing clumsy story filled with stereotypes, cinematic trash, and not intended with thinned skinned attitudes, those folks better run for the hills.
The best horror-comedies, known to have great chemistry between the cast, a rule still existing since the birth of vaudeville days, with talents of Abbott and Costello, Laurel and Hardy, and The Three Stooges, it generates so much more and translates to strong bonding to the viewers. From Young Frankenstein (1974) to Shaun of the Dead (2004) and even Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2010) all providing great entertainment value and never relenting to the credits roll. Altieri mixed other horror subgenres like zombies, vampires, and clowns, that last one generates its own fears and an avalanche of clown flicks, Stitches, Clown, and It (2017).
A story about a group of security guards (watchmen) at an office building housing the Baltimore Newspaper, who are going through an average day of work, Ken (Ken Arnold) an ex-marine with terrible aim, Jiggetts (Kevin Jiggetts) is addicted to donuts, Luca (Dan DeLuca) supposedly killed three people. They recently hired a new person Rajeeve (Max Gray Wilbur) during his orientation, quiet evening and one night a misguided delivery of a peculiar content. The squad hazes the new employee with some human bowling test while an outbreak happens when clown, Blimpo, resurrects his Romanian body. Killer Clown vs. Watchmen, thought it doesn’t happen for a while, first its vampires and later vampire-zombie, and even later that the Killer Clown. Soon the team, face a horde of hungry vampires all to rescue attractive journalist Karen (Kara Luiz) and ignore her friend a car pool associate named Penny (Diona Reasonover). Meanwhile Blimpo out on the hunt complete with his squeaking shoes, an absurd and hilarious moment in the film. A great many of the jokes about racial and religious affinities, and comedic lines deliver in the b-movie manners with culture reference s to Friends and True Blood, and insults the asinine OSHA rules referring to painted outline of a crowbar (meaning where it goes and how to place it). All of it maintains an insanely ridiculous edge where individuals need to dance to prove their still human, and once a vampire meets their final death they break wind.
This movie contains plenty of practical gore gags and arterial sprays guarantee to get gore hounds to smile each time it occurs, granted a few CGI effects splash into the scene, but it all brings cheers. Another standout is all the stunts and action scenes, for the flying monsters and even a spider-walking vampire (homage to The Exorcist (1973)). The dialogue works very well, fast pace, yet never a scene hurrying along or a feel of overstaying its welcome, the comedy delivers in aces, a little offbeat for a few moments, and the actors sometimes becomes a mismatch but overall a solid production.
Altieri gives a solid finished movie to the fans of horror and gore, the slapstick pratfalls, comedic talents of the cast and splattering of blood everywhere. He understood both his audience and limitations, knowing the careful balance in the horror-comedy subgenre and followed it closely, delivering excitement, high energy, and leaves the door open for a sequel, one could hope for that to become a reality.
IMDb Rating: 5.4/10
Baron’s Rating: 6.2/10
Here ‘s the trailer, warning NSFW!