Vicious Fun is a Canadian horror comedy released in 2021 that can currently be seen on the streaming platform Shudder. I say it is a horror comedy, but that is in the broadest of terms. This film has elements of an action thriller, slight mystery, meta genre commentary, and all in a 1980s aesthetic. Overall this mish mash of elements works for an entertaining and interesting hour and forty one minutes (including credits) of a fun, campy movie to watch, especially with October and spooky season around the corner. As always SPOILERS ahead.
Vicious Fun centers around a horror loving, aspiring writer and film critic, Joel (played by Evan Marsh), a kind of sad sack loser that the genre has in abundance. Joel is in love, though really lust, with his roommate, Sarah (played by Alexa Rose Steele). She, unsurprisingly, is barely aware of his existence and, at best, sees him as an asexual entity and buddy. The setup of the film’s narrative at this point is pretty straightforward. Joel is on a dead end path trying to follow his dreams of horror writing while Sarah is out and about living her best 80s “hot girl” life. As such, she is going out on a date the night the entirety of the movie takes place with a very stereotypical 80s cool dude, Bob (played by Ari Millen), a purposeful characterization for both its impact to the story and reference to another well known 80s cool dude with a similar personality.
Under the guise of looking out for his roommate, Joel stalks Bob to a bar on the outskirts of town and engages in conversation hoping to learn some secret he can take back to Sarah to play “white knight.” He fails miserably at this endeavor ending up with a full bar tab to pay off for his idiocy. Joel gets drunk and collapses into a janitorial closet in this bar after last call and closing. When he wakes up, he finds himself in an AA style meeting for serial killers. This is where the real story of the film begins. While, admittedly, not the most original premise, the film has fun with it and gives every killer just enough of a personality to differentiate them and keep things interesting. This is also where the mystery element of the film is introduced in the form of Carrie (played by Amber Goldfarb), the sole female serial killer in the group.
From this point on, we see the events fold out through the eyes and actions of both Joel and Carrie. While it is a low budget, indie film, it does manage to make the most of its few kill and action sequences. There are some very entertaining deaths and pretty comical performances from this point on. I particularly enjoy the entire police sequence from the bar back to the precinct and kind of shows some real world ineptitude on the law enforcement side and ingenuity on the serial killers’ part. An oddly exigent point considering all we have learned about law enforcement procedure from podcasts and documentaries in recent years. I won’t give away too much since I highly recommend you watch this film, but the journey of the central two protagonists, and their eventual resolution, is well earned and worth the investment. And the film allows for more at its end, so maybe we’ll see a sequel at some point (fingers crossed).
Either way, if you are in the mood for a fun, campy horror/slasher film with just enough genre meta commentary to not be annoying, grab a Shudder trial period and watch Vicious Fun.