19th Oct2020

‘Hawk and Rev: Vampire Slayers’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Ryan Barton-Grimley, Ari Schneider, Jana Savage, Richard Gayler, Jeff Lorch, Casey Graf, David Rickabaugh, Jack Bradley, Kevin Ocampo, Jason Kaye, Brian Sturges, Nicole Wylnad | Written and Directed by Ryan Barton-Grimley

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 in his hometown of Santa Muerte, California.

Just when it looks like all Hawk’s options in life have expired, filthy blood-sucking vampires appear and, of course, nobody believes him. With his back up against the wall and hordes of 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…

Styled after the horror comedies of the 80s, and feeling very much like a homage to The Lost Boys and in particular the Frog Brothers – the comic shop owning vampire hunters of Santa Carla. That is if the brothers never really grew out of their persona’s in Joel Schumacher’s film and were stuck worrying their entire adult lives about another impending vampire attack rather than actually getting on with their own lives!

Hawk and Rev: Vampire Slayers is also very much akin to spoofs of the genre too – with writer/director Ryan Barton-Grimley, who also plays “Hawk” in the film, very much playing up to the tropes of splatstick humour… The characters do dumb stuff, the gore is over the top (there is a ridiculous amount of blood in this film) and everyone seems hyper-real. It’s a stylistic choice that actually works to build a lot of sympathy and empathy for the two leads. Leads who would otherwise be seen as totally unlikeable losers.

But likeable they are. You want them to succeed in their vampire hunting quest; you want Hawk to get to justify his vampire paranoia; you want this underdog pair to get some respect for saving their town (and possibly the world). You also want to see them in more adventures. Yes, whilst it would seem Hawk and Rev have slayed all the vampires currently in Santa Muerte (which hilariously translates as “Holy Death”… apt given the circumstances), I could see their adventures continuing, Maybe have them go up, stupid-style, against the rest of the monster canon: werewolves, fishmen et al.

Goofy AND gory, Hawk and Rev: Vampire Slayers is a fun slice of comedy horror that offers 90 minutes of escapism and laughs – the perfect antithesis to the current insufferable trend of “elevated horror”.

***½  3.5/5

Hawk and Rev: Vampire Slayers screened as part of the 2020 Dances With Films festival.


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