FANGED UP ** UK 2017 Dir: Christian James 88 mins
Christian James began his feature film career with the engagingly silly and inventive slasher movie pastiche FREAK OUT (2004) and confirmed his promise with the witty STALLED (2013) in which a lowly janitor was forced to fend off zombified Christmas office partygoers with toilet rolls, hand dryers, bras and sanitary waste bins.
Despite the gimmick of seeing Ewen MacIntosh (Scotch Egg-munching Keith from THE OFFICE) as a vampire, FANGED UP is a disappointment. Unflatteringly dubbed “Spaghetti Dick” at school, dumb Danny Dyer-esque lad Daniel O’Reilly unwittingly starts a fight at “Club Moist” and is punished with a weekend at “Stokesville Prison” where, just in case you didn’t get the hint from the punning title, the warden is named Renfield and the meals are served at midnight. The governor has nefarious plans afoot involving the inevitable ritual virgin sacrifice, and O’Reilly’s naivety knows no bounds, confusing vampires with Frankenstein (and Einstein) and making casual language gaffs like “constipated land”. O’Reilly’s immature protagonist is endearing enough, and the last half hour in particular showcases lots of splatter (with an unwelcome CGI element), but the script is dominated by laboured running gags (“What’s a cranny?”), resorting to gay jokes when all else fails. It’s seldom funny, despite the game efforts of the leads, though chances are James will atone for this with his future projects.
Review by Steven West