CUFF 2021: Vicious Fun Review

Imagine Jason Voorhees, Hannibal Lecter, and Patrick Bateman walked into a bar. This thought experiment isn’t a setup for a joke; it’s the premise behind director Cody Calahan’s new horror-comedy, Vicious Fun.

The vile men in this movie aren’t the actual characters from Friday the 13th or The Silence of the Lambs, but they’re obvious stand-ins. There’s a 6”9 Jason-esque masked killer who prefers murdering college coeds while they have sex. Ari Millen’s raging d-bag Bob exudes the glib charm of Christian Bale’s iconic American Psycho character. And Hideo (Sean Baek), who carries himself with a cold, brooding menace, loves eating his victims à la Hannibal the Cannibal.

So what brings these goons together? They’ve joined a support group for serial killers, lead by the fast-talking Zachary (David Koechner).

Things take a turn when the film’s hapless hero Joel (Evan Marsh) gets wasted at a sketchy bar. In his drunken stupour, Joel stumbles into the support group. Realizing he’s in danger, Joel goes with the flow and pretends he’s a serial killer too. But as the saying goes, “game recognize game,” and it’s not long before this depraved group suspects Joel may not be who he claims he is.


Vicious Fun is a loving homage to the schlocky horror flicks that lined video store shelves throughout the ‘80s. Steph Copeland’s pulsing electronic score sounds ripped from a John Carpenter or Tangerine Dream soundtrack. Jeff Maher’s stylish cinematography captures most of the action within gorgeous neon-lit frames. It all comes together to create a delightfully vintage vibe.

This self-aware horror-comedy wears its heart on its sleeve. The film works as both a commentary on low-brow cinema and a love letter to the genre. Vicious Fun is silly, fast-paced, and most importantly, fun. It’s also hellbent on grossing you out with over-the-top gore.

It breaks my heart that we can’t experience this movie in a theatre with a super-charged midnight madness audience. Vicious Fun feels custom-made for a frenzied late-night crowd.

Vicious Fun’s Canadian premiere takes place at the 18th annual Calgary Underground Film Festival. CUFF 2021 runs from April 23rd – May 02nd, 2021. For more CUFF coverage, click here.


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