15th Aug2018

‘Fanged Up’ DVD Review

by Kevin Haldon

Stars: Daniel O’Reilly, Danielle Harold, Stu Bennett, Vas Blackwood, Stephen Marcus, Steven Berkoff, Lauren Socha, Chris R. Wright, Huw Samuel, Roland Manookian | Written by Nick Nevern, Daniel O’Reilly | Directed by Christian James

Fanged-Up-Quad

Okay so on paper this reads as a low-budget British vampire-comedy set in a prison starring WWE Superstar Stu Bennett, The Dapper Laughs Guy and the legend that is Steven Berkoff… However only some… of this is true???

A short while ago I was asked to give Fanged Up a cheeky watch with the intentions of giving a short one paragraph critique for some reason or other. I was more than happy to oblige however I couldn’t wait for the movie to drop so I could really sink my teeth – get it – nto this movie and give you my honest review. Mostly because a lot of people checking out the film in the DVD section at ASDA (other stores are available) may look at this film and think exactly what I wrote up top. But Fanged Up is more than that, it’s undeniably, more clever than my paragraph suggests, better written and for a micro budget movie its just an all round better movie than you may give it credit for…

Fanged Up wastes no time in placing itself in the Brit Horror Comedy genre. A proper Brit classic gem in the making. Fanged Up knows exactly the type of movie it is and completely embraces that with all the care and due attention the genre deserves. Take a spoonful of Shaun of Dead, mix with some Dog Soldiers, a pinch of Starred Up, topped with some bonkers off the wall fun… That’s Fanged Up and its Fang-Freakin-Tastic!

Young wide-boy Jimmy Ragsdale (Daniel O’Reilly) is thrown into prison for a weekend and has none of the life skills he is going to need to survive being the new fish, Lucky for him his new cell mate Victor Stanczyk (WWEs Stu Bennett) is not only a pretty nice Russian dude built like a brick shit house but he knows the knows the ropes and is willing to teach Jimmy. However what Jimmy is unaware of is that the guards are blood-sucking vampires and the inmates are their victims. So not only is Ragsdale gonna have to adapt quickly but he will have to assert his manly prowess so as not to become someones bitch, while taking on the Vampire guards and the scary as hell Warden (Steven Berkoff). Throw into the mix his ex girlfriend Katie (Danielle Harold) and we have a scenario that is must win for Jimmy…

That’s about the jist of it… Fanged Up, for me, ticks every single one of the boxes I have come to expect from a British “cult classic” horror comedy in the making. It doesn’t take itself too serious, always making time to break tension with a well timed joke or as we Brits also love, a moment of insane dry humour. There is no huge budget on show but that’s what makes these movies so charming an endearing, its also why your core cast has to pick up there game and put in well rounded performances.

Let’s look at the cast, because I was very surprised by Daniel O’Reilly… “Dapper Laughs” himself. When you have a reputation, as this guy does, it can make you wonder how you are going to take to him being in a movie of this genre or really ANY movie – especially when it’s his first foray into acting (beyond playing Dapper Luaghs that is). However O’Reilly nailed it, equal parts comedy to bad assery, I was laughing at his line delivery when I was supposed to, I felt sorry or hopeful for the guy when I was supposed too and when he kicked a little ass I bought it. At no point was I taken out of the movie by him as an actor so to that I say big ups to Daniel O’Reilly, I look forward to seeing more of you. Also his on screen relationship with Stu Bennett was wonderful…

Speaking of whom, Stu Bennett is no stranger to the movie world and has always impressed me in his roles, even though they have been mostly bit parts. In Fanged Up I felt like I got to see him spread his wings a little and I for one thought he was great. Danielle Harold was on point as Jimmys ex-girlfriend, really bringing out the best in O’Reillys abilities on screen, they played well together. Its always great to see Lauren Socha on the screen as the wardens number 2, I love Socha and wish she got more roles. Steven Berkoff is Steven Berkoff, an absolute legend!

For me Fanged Up is a strong recommend… Is it perfect? No, it has its flaws but show me a movie that doesn’t. What we do have here is a movie that really took me by surprise. I was laughing most of the way through it and found myself rooting for Jimmy Ragsdale and his new friends. I was taken aback at how good everyone is in the movie and how solid the movie is.

Fanged Up is available on DVD and Digital now. Go buy it, you won’t be disappointed.

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