Posted by Rampant Coyote on April 24, 2014
Knights of Badassdom is a horror / comedy movie about LARPers (Live Action Role-Players), featuring Ryan Kwanten, Summer Glau, Peter Dinklage, and Steve Zahn. I’d been following it for a while, during it’s seemingly unending quest for distribution. Like most indie movies – especially those not trying to be controversial or artsy-fartsy – it experienced a good deal of trouble finding a place to go, and received a bunch of editing on the way. I really don’t know what the original was like – I can only judge the final results.
I can’t say I’m a total fan of 80′s style horror movies, especially the drug-laden cheesy gore-fests this film was reputedly inspired by. Not so much my thing, but I do enjoy a good horror / comedy, and of course, the movie is about LARPers, which is something that brings to mind many a weekend from my youth, when I’d dress up in period garb, leather, and chain mail, and wield padded sticks in the form of weapons against my similarly-garbed opponents, kicking up dust and beating the crap out of each other, getting torn up more by thorns and branches than each other’s weapons, and then get up and do it all over again.
And when we weren’t fighting, or trying too hard to be “in character,” we’d shoot the breeze, and make jokes about ourselves. This plot from this movie sounds a lot like the kinds of goofy thought experiments we’d come while hanging out, eating our lunch at “Valhalla” (a time-out zone you’d visit when you “died” in larger battles… think respawn delay), or while driving to or from the battles. It’s a big “what if.” What if a bunch of live-action role-players, skilled with simulated battle with padded weapons, actually had to deal with a true horrific monster from the netherworld?
That’s Knights of Badassdom in a nutshell. Overqualified, under-achieving car mechanic and “Dark Metal” guitarist Joe (Kwanten) experiences a break-up with his long-term girlfriend. His buddies Hung (Dinklage) and Eric (Zahn) decide the best thing for their depressed friend is to get him re-acquainted with gaming – something he enjoyed prior to his relationship with his now ex-girlfriend. But – after getting him stoned and passed out – they decide to take it to the next level, and drag him with them to a major LARPing event. After a bit of an argument – and a glimpse at expert swordswoman Gwen (Glau), Joe is persuaded to stick around and try a weekend in a fantasy battle.
The surprise is that Eric – trying hard to achieve the next level as a wizard – has obtained a real, cursed book of magic off of EBay to use as a prop in the game. He casts a spell out of the tome for show, which happens to have the very real effect of summoning a deadly succubus from Hell – in the form of Joe’s ex-girlfriend. She proceeds to kill and eat quite a few LARPers during the night, and attempts to discover and then defeat her predictably escalate – as does the body count.
So how is it? Worth a DVD purchase or rental?
It was for me. I liked it. I didn’t love it the way I loved last year’s Unicorn City (another LARP-oriented movie), or The Gamers 2: Dorkness Rising. I have trouble recommending this movie to many of my friends because it is very rated “R” for language, gore, and drug use. The blood & guts are not realistic, but they are plentiful. As a horror / comedy, it doesn’t approach the lofty heights of Cabin in the Woods (but then, what would?). The CGI is cheesy, but it doesn’t seem like it’s trying to take itself seriously. It’s intended to be over-the-top into the realm of ludicrous (at least so it seems to me), and just invites you to come along for the ride.
No, it’s not a great film. I am not really amused by drug use, and I’m not normally a fan of realistic gore… but this one went to the ludicrous levels to the point where I didn’t have too much of a problem with it. As an “inside joke” with gamers, it’s pretty amusing, and there were some definite laugh-out-loud moments for my wife and me. For what it is – a gamer-centric medium-low-budget indie horror / comedy, it worked for me.
So on my highly subjective 3-point bad/good/great rating system I like to advocate, I’d put it in the “good” category. If you enjoy cheesy horror movies and you are a gamer, you will probably get a kick out of it.
You can grab it from Amazon:
Knights of Badassdom
And here’s the trailer:
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