Philip “HAWK” Hawkins doesn’t just dream about killing vampires – He eats, sleeps, drinks and freakin’ breaths it. After getting kicked out the Army for staking a fellow soldier with a blunt two by four, Hawk almost dies of boredom working as a night security guard at a deserted office park in his hometown of Santa Muerte, California – USA. Just when it looks like all Hawk’s options in life have expired – Filthy-ass blood-sucking vampires appear. And of course – Nobody even freakin’ believes him. With his super-ripped back up against the wall, his sweaty Karate Kid headband on and hordes of blood-thirsty murderous vampires closing in, Hawk enlists the help of the one person who kind of believes him – Revson “REV” McCabe, a dimwitted, vegan-pacifist groundskeeper. Together they join forces to save the whole entire freakin’ world. Well – At least their hometown anyway.
Tagline: Slay time is over… Or is it?
Title: Hawk and Rev: Vampire Slayers | Director: Ryan Barton-Grimley | Starring: Ryan Barton-Grimley, Ari Schneider, Richard Gayler, Jana Savage | Release Year: 2020 | Runtime: 88 minutes | Genre: Horror-Comedy | Language: English | Source: Publicist – October Coast
Hawk & Rev: Vampire Slayers Review
It’s worth noting that Hawk & Rev is a comedy about vampires rather than a horror-comedy. It doesn’t attempt to be scary and while it can occasionally splash quite a lot of blood around, it does so only to provoke a laugh (and indeed, the bloody scenes are some of its funniest). Trading on 80s movie clichés – and abounding in references – it follows the misadventures of two idiotic friends as they try to expose a cell of vampires that has moved into their home town.
The film opens on an obnoxious dudebro loudly talking into his cellphone about how he’s definitely not cheating on his girlfriend, then being attacked and messily eaten by a vampire. And for a moment, I thought there might be something here: that this was going to be some sort of anti-hyper-masculinity slaughter comedy, playing with the 80s stereotypes. But it never quite gets there.
Hawk (director Ryan Barton-Grimley) is a burnt-out conspiracy nut, discharged from the army for killing another private who was actually a vampire and now unable to find an apartment or a decent job. It’s Buffy Summers burning down the gym and being branded a delinquent at the start of the series, basically. He works as a night watchman at an abandoned building and has just been kicked out of his parents’ house, living instead in a tent on a patch of waste ground. He’s a reasonably interesting character, a slightly obnoxious everyman idiot who you can’t help but root for (most of the time). When the film works, it has shades of Thunder Road to it, though broader and with vampires, and there’s a nice misfits-versus-yuppies undercurrent.
But for the most part, it doesn’t work, not quite. Most of the jokes are sort of vaguely amusing at best – you smile but never laugh out loud – and the continuity can get pretty messy, especially toward the end, with characters coming together and splitting apart seemingly at random. It’s not enough to derail it, but it does affect your enjoyment.
The rest of the characters are a lot less compelling, too. Rev (Ari Schneider) is a “vegan pacifist” who does tai chi on the beach. He gets a lot of the best lines but is very one-note. Jasper (Richard Gayler) is a mean, paranoid psychopath with an eyepatch whom Hawk and Rev beg to act as their mentor. Theo (Jana Savage) is the girl. She’s a bit sarcastic toward Hawk, but then everyone is, so that doesn’t really count as a character trait. There’s a goofy band of are-they-aren’t-they vampires and there’s Terry (Kevin Ocampo), Hawk’s disgusting neighbour; his joke is that he’s a homeless accountant. It’s all fine. You recognize the gestures toward interesting comedy ideas, but they never quite come together.
Hawk & Rev: Vampire Slayers also marred by one too many casual prison rape jokes. They’re never nasty, but still. This is a film made in 2020.
Hawk & Rev: Vampire Slayers is nonetheless quite goofily charming. There’s an earnestness to it that wins you over. I can’t really recommend it, but I enjoyed my time with it in a quiet sort of way. It’s decently shot and acted, and it’s hard not to think they might have had something pretty decent if only the editing had been tighter, to help the jokes to land.
Tim is a freelance editor based in Edinburgh. He is currently attempting to watch and review every film set in Scotland at filmsinscotland.wordpress.com. That includes a load of great horror but sadly little sci-fi. Follow him on Twitter at @FilmsInScotland.
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