Knights of Badassdom is a 2013 comedy/fantasy/horror film written by Kevin Dreyfuss and Matt Wall and directed by Joe Lynch. Now Knights of Badassdom is very light on all things horror. For the first half of the film. But the second half, while still predominately comedy has ample enough horror for it to qualify to be talked about here.
Knights of Badassdom opens with some LARPers, Hung (played Peter Dinklage), Eric (by Steve Zahn) and Randy Kwok (portrayed Jimmi Simpson) being interrupted in the woods by a group of paintballers. As they flee in their van Eric notices he has dropped his new book he got off of Ebay to use as a prop. Back at the site of the attack one of the paintballers is attacked by the book before the book teleports unseen back to Eric unnoticed. The paintballer is left with the arcaic text of the Ebay Book burned into his flesh. We then cut to Joe (played by Ryan Kwanten) who’s girlfriend Beth (Margarita Levieva) breaks up with him for doing nothing with his life. Joe returns home distraught to his roommates and close friends, Hung and Eric. The two try to cheer him up, but Joe passes out from the excess in libation and awakes at a LARP event dressed in armor. Hung and Eric both agree that a weekend of fantasy fun is just what Joe needs to get over Beth. While at the event Eric while bring Joes character to life uses his Ebay book and accidentally summons for a succubus in the form of Beth. While The Bethubuss sets upon the unsuspecting LARPers one at a time, Joe meets Gwen (Summer Glau) and her cousin Gunther (Brett Gipson). After the events come to light the unlikely heroes must muster the courage to face the Bethubuss before she can cause more damage.
There’s a whole lot in this film that works for me. The intelligent reference to music such as King Diamond one of LARPers being a reference t0 the lead singer from Mercyful Fate and The Temple of Syrinx being a reference to 2112 by Rush (an awesome band by the way). The movie also has Brian Posehn as a metal head friend of Joe’s, which I really liked since anyone who’s a fan of Posehn knows he actually is a huge metal head.
The sharp shift in tone really added to the enjoyment for me as well. Like I said earlier the horror doesn’t kick in till a little ways into the film, but when it does the characters all act at least somewhat believable. It goes from being happy and fun to being dark and somber. The movie all takes place over the course of a single day and while the day, its more a comedy. But its after night falls that the horror starts to really kick up.
Its because the characters are all so likable even the “bad” paintballers come off across as fun just assholes. So when the Bethubuss starts with the killing I feel genuine dread of all the bad things that are coming the LARPers way and I feel a bit sad and little revulsion when they meet their grisly end.
Another thing this film does very well is gore. While it has its share of blood and guts it never goes overboard. Sure the Bethubuss tears out a few hearts maybe rips of a jaw or dismembers a couple people but it doesn’t linger on the gore. It happens and its folded into what’s happening. You rarely see the aftermath just the entail gore from the attack. Which I really enjoy as far to often film makers will sacrifice story for more meaningless blood.
But what’s my final opinion of Knights of Baddassdom over all? I loved the shit out of this movie. My only real complaint is that it has a useless opening scene that explains the origins of the book only to have it explained again by a character in the film. I hate that with a passion either drop the opening or cut out character story time. I don’t need to keep hearing the same information again and again. But even with that glaring flaw this movie is a cut above its fellows, so Knight of Badassdom gets a resounding 8/10. The end monster also looked hella fake.