Movie Review: Slackers go on a stake-out — “Hawk and Rev: Vampire Slayers”

A vegan vampire hunter sits — I’m envisioning the lotus position — on the horns of a dilemma.

Pretty hard to reconcile those competing agendas.

“First of all, no hurting…or killing.” No “stakes,” in other words. Or steaks.

But if mellow, tai chi loving Rev (Ari Schneider) is going to join his paranoid schizophrenic security guard pal Hawk (Ryan Barton-Grimley) in his mania, a” fight against injustice and the supernatural,” killing “blood-sucking allergic-to-sunlight filthy-ass vampires,” well some compromise is in order.

“Hawk and Rev: Vampire Slayers” is a laugh-littered no-budget vampire slaughter comedy in the tradition of “Tucker and Dale vs. Evil.” Over-the-top blasts of fake blood, sight gags by the score, at times jaunty and with many a throw-away funny line, it is tailor-made for a (socially distanced) party of Tommy Chong’s best customers.

Stone cold sober? It’s got a few giggles. On the whole, I’d call it a near-miss.

Hawk is living in a tattered pup tent in his parents’ backyard when we meet him. His mood will not improve as he’s late to work and quick to mock how angry he makes his exasperated and religiously prudish boss (Casey Graf).

“Don’t worry. I won’t tell your wives.”

Rev tries to calm Hawk’sconstant “Anger Management” issues. But tai chi on the beach with janitor Rev doesn’t promise any quick fix.

“Take that up with the liberals!”

He spies pasty-faced, bloody-fanged folk he IDs as vampires, and he’s on the case, stake in his back pocket and backup tool/weapon at the ready.

“Good enough for the Swiss Army, it’s good enough for me!”

Soon they add would-be writer/researcher (Jana Savage) to their ranks, with the blessing of Hawk’s Army prison mentor (Richard Gaylor), they take on their quest.

Writer-director-star Barton-Grimley gets a little winded here and there. And pictures this peppered with jokes can be wearing if the plot and the gags — increasingly graphic vampire violence — aren’t all that. Whiplash edits and whiplash sound effects keep it moving, but the drag of repetition sets in.

Cheapness as a virtue is a long-established horror comedy tradition. And you’ve got to appreciate the anger — “What kind of loser-ass vampire lives in a garage?” — and skewering, self-owning Tarantino shots.

Yes, “From Dusk Till Dawn” starred “that handsome TV doctor” and “the director who tries to be an actor.”

Cheese like this is best served with giggly friends. Rent “Hawk and Rev” after “a proper date, dinner in a place named after a ‘garden!'” Just remember to finish off the wine before you do.

MPA Rating: unrated, bloody violence, sexual gags, profanity aplenty

Cast:  Ryan Barton-Grimley, Ari Schneider, Jana Savage, Richard Gayler, Jeff Lorch and Casey Graf

Credits: Scripted by directed by Ryan Barton-Grimley. A Loaded Image release.

Running time: 1:25

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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