'VampyrZ on a Boat': A Wild, Fast Paced Horror-Comedy
I always appreciate it when a film doesn't beat around the bush and lets you know what you're getting into from the get-go. This is especially true of VampyrZ on a Boat, where you pretty much know what to expect from the title alone. But beyond that, the film cuts right to the chase and gets right to the action within the first minute. From there, the film moves at a quick pace, and makes for a fun, somewhat campy experience that squeezes a lot into its 72 minute runtime, while also managing to deliver on the promise of its title and then some.
The film follows Max (played by Dallas Valdez), a mercenary of sorts who partners with his old friend Dell (played by Curt Lambert) to take on a mission on a ship. Once aboard, Max meets Sara (played by Carrie Keegan), and the two quickly fall in love. However, the ship is infested with mysterious vampires that can appear and disappear at will, and who begin to terrorize the passengers. On top of this, Max finds himself stuck in a time loop, and must find a way to get out of it while also saving the ship and its passengers from the vampires.
The film takes a rather economical approach to its storytelling, as it fits in a lot of different elements over a short period of time. It wastes no time in unfolding its narrative, and it moves at such a quick pace as a result. It makes great use of its runtime, and while it is doing quite a bit, it never feels overstuffed. The time loop element does feel a bit disorienting, but that is more of a plus, as it adds to the tension of the film. The film's setting also contributes to this, as it almost entirely takes place on the ship. There is a claustrophobic feel to a lot of the scenes, especially once the vampires are introduced. The spaces on the ship feel small enough as is, but add in the possibility of a vampire appearing out of nowhere, and it takes this to another level. I was pleasantly surprised by how well the vampires were used in the film, and the film does put its own spin on them fairly well. Their ability to disappear is a smart choice, as it allows the viewer to feel like they can show up at any time. It also leads to a bigger struggle between the protagonists and the vampires in the fight scenes, which gives the film a small dose of uncertainty that it uses to its advantage.
The film also has some decent comedic elements, primarily in the form of its eccentric cast of characters. While our leads take on distinct archetypes, the supporting cast is made up of strange and quirky passengers on the ship. From a peg-legged, eye patch wearing captain to a ventriloquist and his dummy, the film is not afraid to get a little goofy with how these characters are portrayed. It's a bit tongue in cheek, which keeps the involvement his these characters from feeling out of place. The film also makes great use of poking fun at action movie cliches, with a particular bit involving a montage of Max making various quips being one of the more memorable ones. The film has an underlying ridiculousness to it that heightens the comedy and horror elements, and makes for a rather fun watch. It is a bit of a strange blend, but it works better than I would have expected, and is rather enjoyable under all the chaos.
The film has a pretty good look to it, and uses a quick editing style to increase the anxiety of the situations the characters find themselves in. I especially like how the film uses the color red in certain moments, and the use of what appears to be an actual ship gives the film a sense of reality amidst its heightened elements. The effects used for the vampires are quite solid, both in terms of the make-up used for them, and the effects used to give the illusion that they are disappearing and re-appearing. I also felt that the bloodier moments were well deployed, as the film holds back in certain moments, which allows the film's violent climax to stand out even more.
VampyrZ on a Boat might be a bit silly at times, but it is a fun time nonetheless. It is a fast-paced mix of horror and comedy that comes together to make something that is unique and full of personality. It takes a relatively simple premise and builds off it to make an enjoyable film that will keep you entertained from start to finish. Its a bit of a wild ride, but in a good way, and its quirkiness is one of its best assets. If nothing else, its an enjoyable watch and has enough going on to keep audiences hooked throughout.
VampyrZ on a Boat is available to buy or rent on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, and other streaming platforms on September 27th.