1 August 2009

Movie Review: Lesbian Vampire Killers


D

Lesbian Vampire Killers
2009, 88min, NR
Director: Phil Claydon
Writer (s): Paul Hupfield, Stewart Williams
Cast includes: Matthew Horne, James Corden, MyAnna Buring, Silvia Colloca, Paul McGann, Lucy Gaskell
Release Date: TBC

The funniest thing about “Lesbian Vampire Killers” is easily its barmy name, the short and at times crushingly lazy script never offering up anything of equal amusement. “LVK” ought to be filled to the brim with knowing gags and guilty chuckles but the screenwriters have simply peppered it with buckets of sit-com level humour and tepid sexual innuendo. Indeed there isn’t much in the way of good action or titillation either, rendering “LVK” a wasteful excursion and a disappointing feature debut for British comedy duo Horne and Corden.

Jimmy (Matthew Horne) and Fletch (James Corden) are best friends both down on their luck. Jimmy has been dumped for the seventh time by his girlfriend and Fletch is maintaining a streak of job losses at a remarkable rate. Both low on cash they decide to take a weekend in the English countryside, ending up in a small and heavily depopulated village. On arrival however they encounter a group of buxom history students heading to a local cottage with the promise that Jimmy and Fletcher can stay the night with them. Arriving things start as a party but quickly turn to a bloodbath, the girls start disappearing and it transpires that the local legend of Carmilla (Silvia Colloca) the vampire queen could be behind it. When Carmilla rises to power all the girls in the village will turn into lesbian vampires on their 18th birthday, so with the last surviving student Lotte (MyAnna Buring) and a crazed Vicar (Paul McGann) Jimmy and Fletch set out to end Carmilla once and for all.

In “LVK” Horne and Corden make for a remarkably average pair of leading men, the latter is a little more skilled at generating laughter but neither manages the necessary heights to make the endeavour worthwhile. Part of the problem is that neither character is all that likable; Fletch is a misogynistic loudmouth whilst Jimmy is a wimpy and often whiny companion. Watching these two for 88 minutes isn’t easy so routing for them is a positive challenge, a flaw that immediately places “LVK” on unfavourable ground. Slightly better is Paul McGann as a Vicar obsessed with destroying the vampire legend but levelling things out comes MyAnna Buring, the actress offering an excruciatingly lame attempt at a sassy love interest. The other history students and vampires are just token totty, required to do nothing but stand around in skimpy attire and occasionally snarl.

One has to assume that “LVK” had no horror pretentions from the beginning and that all its goals where stacked in the arena of comedy, because frankly it never gets close to scaring the audience. That would be fine if its comedic bent was fulfilled in a satisfying fashion but sadly it’s not, the script filled full of stale slapstick and obvious sex gags. Corden occasionally manages to dig up a laugh for the audience to feed on but otherwise “LVK” is depressingly devoid of any comedy bite, the lowest common denominator style of humour grating fast and never recovering.

Director Phil Claydon has obviously pitched his effort as a tongue in cheek throwback to the Hammer flicks of old, and whilst it fails as a comedy it at least looks aesthetically pleasing. Unlike alot of British films “LVK” actually has a distinct and attractive visual style, Claydon and company having captured the Hammer vibe with skill and determination. One can’t help but feel that had the same polish been applied to the screenplay then this would be a considerably better movie but alas “LVK” is all shine with nothing of worth behind its admittedly atmospheric surface.

The attempts at action are hampered by budget and the conclusion is as half assed as they come. It’s not like “LVK” was working from massive amounts of funding to start with but by the end Claydon has clearly run out of cash and thus his idea of a big bang finale is decidedly closer to a whimper. Those seeking a horror styled comedy in the vein of “Shaun of the Dead” had better keep looking because this tired and unadventurous attempt lacks the charm or comic fizz necessary to make this sort of thing bearable, let alone good.

A review by Daniel Kelly, 2009

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