JANUARY 12, 2009
It really bums me out when a movie has a great and fairly original concept, and a good cast to boot, and yet just doesn’t quite come together for whatever reason. I’d rather watch the umpteenth generic and terrible “kids break down and run afoul of cannibals” movie than see something like Netherbeast Incorporated, which is essentially a vampire version of Office Space, albeit not particularly funny, stretched far too thin, and ultimately kind of annoying.
Both Dave Foley and Darrell Hammond are dependable performers, especially in ensembles, but neither one of them really got a laugh out of me in this one. In fact, I only laughed out loud twice in the entire movie: once at a sight gag where a doctor (a vampire) tests some blood, then pours it on his pancakes, and another at a rather random line near the end: “I’ve never seen anyone get stabbed to death over a gun.” Then there were a couple of occasional smirks and grins, but for the most part, I was pretty stone cold silent, which is a problem for a horror comedy that leans heavily toward the comedy.
Part of the problem is that everything feels forced. There’s nothing unfunnier than people TRYING to be random, and that’s what the script seems to be going for. Like our female lead yelling at a puppet she has sat with her at the dinner table. You can tell from the camera setup and the pause between her dialogue that a “random” joke is being set up, and thus the effect is entirely muted. You want a funny puppet gag? Watch that one episode of Arrested Development, when they cut to GOB’s puppet for a reaction shot after cutting to two actual human beings. It comes out of nowhere, and thus is funny. Jason Mewes' character fares worst - literally everything he says in the movie is supposed to sound like it was a spur of the moment thing to say, yet it sounds like he rehearsed it 100 times.
But what really kills the movie is the score. It’s not the worst music ever recorded... or so you may think after hearing it once. But I would guess that at LEAST 90% of the film has “whimsical” music playing under it, and you will want to stab your ears with q-tips after awhile. Again – TELLING us something is supposed to be funny is what actually makes it unfunny. We also get a nearly endless voiceover during the film’s first act, as our hero (the guy from Blues Clues, who’s about the best thing about it) endlessly explains what kind of vampires they are and how they survive and what they are allergic to and blah blah blah. You know, maybe SHOWING us these things in this VISUAL MEDIUM would be worth a try.
The DVD comes loaded with extras, for better or worse. There’s the original short film, which is recreated as the feature length version’s first scene (albeit with a slightly different punchline that allows the film to continue), a whole bunch of featurettes in which everyone talks about how much fun they had and how funny the script was, and an interview with the team responsible for it. There’s also a commentary, but I skipped it due to fears that I would hear the score whenever no one was talking.
I have no doubt that the film has its fans, and that these guys are probably the “funny ones” in their circle of friends, but I just wasn’t into it. Then again, even Mel Brooks couldn’t pull off the vampire comedy, so perhaps it’s just an impenetrable genre blend, like the twist ending porno.
What say you?