Horror comedies like Shaun of the Dead and Tucker and Dale vs Evil set a high bar when it comes to horror comedies. Both had the creepy undertones of their genres but with smart comedy sprinkled in. While horror-comedy movies are easy to find, smart horror comedies are few and far between. Slapstick horror comedies like Scary Movie are a dime a dozen (although the Wayans’ A Haunted House was a gem) but they don’t have the same panache as a really well-done horror-comedy. Needless to say, I had some high expectations for the newest vampire comedy from Ryan Barton-Grimley called HAWK AND REV: VAMPIRE SLAYERS but maybe I had them just a bit too high. Then again, maybe the altitude was just right.
HAWK AND REV: VAMPIRE SLAYERS was written and directed by Ryan Barton-Grimley with music by Ari Schneider. Barton-Grimley and Schneider also happen to be Hawk and Rev respectively. This film follows Philip “Hawk” Hawkins, an ex-soldier who was in jail for a little bit because he staked a fellow soldier with a 2×4 but, in Hawk’s defense, the dude was a “freakin’ vampire!” Hawk now lives in a tent in his parents’ backyard and sleeps with his secret stake. He has a best friend named Revson “Rev” McCabe who is a vegan pacifist that enjoys tai chi on the beach.
One night, during Hawk’s security job, he sees some Goths and a dude in a gimp suit and he is convinced the vampires are back. Hawk enlists the help of Rev but has to follow Rev’s rules such as no killing, no asphyxiation, no getting arrested, and no secret stake. They also try to get the help of a guy Hawk met in military prison named Jasper (Richard Gayler), an unstable guy with an eyepatch and a gun, and a writer named Theo (Jana Savage). As you’d expect, it turns out those Goths really were just Goths (and they became some quick favorites) but it seems like there is actually a real vampire in Santa Muerte and he is killing all of the bros in town. It’s up to this motley crew to save the town from vampires.
This movie was a real roller coaster of expectations for me. I went from bored to loving it and back and forth several times throughout the entire thing. There were equal parts hilarious moments with funny dialogue and humor followed by boring stretches that seemed to go on way too long. It almost feels like HAWK AND REV: VAMPIRE SLAYERS would have worked better as a short film that runs on the longer side than a full-length feature film. If about 30 minutes were cut out, this movie would be so much better because, when the moments were good, they were GOOD.
Hawk looks like a Wish.com version of William Zabka and plays like one too and when Rev’s extreme pacifist ways are added to the mix, it just works. Hawk is super annoying and takes a little bit of time before he becomes tolerable but once the group really hits their stride as a comedy quad, it all meshes really well. Add in the BDSM Goths and hilarity was bound to ensue. Is this movie perfect? No, and there are going to be times when you’re bored but, when the good stuff kicks in, it will have you laughing and the ending was funny and a bit ridiculous. Hawk and Rev are the thrift store versions of Abbott and Costello and I wouldn’t have it any other way. HAWK AND REV: VAMPIRE SLAYERS is an 8/10, and I would definitely recommend it.
HAWK AND REV: VAMPIRE SLAYERS is now available to rent and own on North American digital HD internet, cable, and satellite platforms and DVD.