‘Vicious Fun’ is a Nostalgic Neon Soaked Slasher

A still from 'Vicious Fun'. Joel (Evan Marsh) is pictured in a mid-shot, centre frame, using a payphone and dressed as Marty McFly. He is in a Chinese restaurant and the lighting is drenched in neon.

Gut wrenching gore, a killer script, a bad-ass babe, and bisexual lighting — Vicious Fun has it all. Directed by Cody Calahan and co-written by James Villeneuve, this slasher flick is riddled with references bound to make every horror fan scream, paying homage to some of the genres most iconic entries.

Set in 1980s Minnesota, Vicious Fun follows Joel (Evan Marsh), a horror film critic desperately infatuated with his uninterested roommate Sarah (Alexa Rose Steele). Dressed like Marty McFly and clearly based on the horror stoner/nerd archetype defined by iconic characters like Randy from the Scream franchise, Joel seems cliché on the surface. Drunk on jealousy and booze after stalking Sarah’s new boyfriend Bob (Ari Millen), Joel passes out in a storage closet of a Chinese restaurant, only to awaken hungover to an afterhours serial killer support group.

At first, Joel attempts to play it ‘safe’ and adopt a killer persona to match his newfound sociopathic comrades. Struggling to hide under his guise of a murderous and misogynistic cab driver, Joel is introduced to the likes of the callous and methodical clown Fritz (Julian Richings), classic creepy cannibal Hideo (Sean Baek), sloppy and slow slasher homage Mike (Robert Maillet), sadistic government agent Zachary (David Koechner) and blood thirsty final girl Carrie (Amber Goldfarb). Naturally, Bob also turns out to be one of the major players in the group, filling the quota for a Patrick Bateman wanna-be.

A still from 'Vicious Fun'. Carrie (Amber Goldfarb) is shown in a mid-shot, just off centre frame and stood in the lobby of a cinema, next to a 'now playing' poster. She is a thin, white woman with short blonde hair and heavy eyemakeup. She has a red t-shrit on with a bandana necktie and black denim jacket scattered with pins. Her expression is smug.

The events that unfold over the course of the night are nothing short of a bloody good time. Vicious Fun is indeed viciously fun. As soon as Carrie reveals her mission for vengeance, the film kick starts.  Teaming up with Joel and educating him on his rather selfish and creepy ways, Carrie steals the show completely, raining devastating pain on any psycho that crosses her path.

A comedy horror that does not skimp on the gore or the laughs, Vicious Fun knows exactly what it is, and pulls this off with remarkable ease. It keeps you on your toes, avoiding over-done tropes and predictable resolutions. The lack of heterosexual romance is perhaps the most refreshing part of the overall narrative and something more horror films should be doing. With no awkward or forced romance to take away from Carrie and Joel’s (and Joel and Sarah’s) interactions, the film fills out its 1 hour 40 minute run time with scenes of absolute gore, and hilarious, yet emotionally aware dialogue.

Overall, Vicious Fun is an extremely enjoyable, self-aware throwback to some of horror’s best and most brutal — resulting in an obviously entertaining watch for all horror fans.

Vicious Fun is available to stream exclusively on Shudder now

by Kelsie Dickinson

Kelsie (she/her) is a super gay masters graduate from The University of Glasgow. She loves slashers, but hates capitalism. Her favourite films are It Follows, Midsommar, Lost In Translation and Ghost World. Find her on Twitter.

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