FANTASIA 2017 REVIEW: The Night Watchmen

Being a night security officer is never very exciting. With Ken (Ken Arnold), Jiggetts (Kevin Jiggetts), and Luca (Dan DeLuca) it has never been more apparent. They sit around playing cards and checking out the girls on the security cameras when they are still in the office. The most exciting thing they have to look forward to is the razzing of new recruit Rajeeve (Max Gray Wilbur). What they think will be an uneventful evening gets spiced up a bit when two stoner delivery guys deliver a coffin to the wrong address. The plan is to pick it back up in the morning but the contents of the coffin has other plans. When the coffin is opened, an evil is set loose upon the building like nothing anyone has ever seen: a clownpire (you guessed it, a clown vampire). With bodies being ripped apart everywhere, it’s up to the night watchmen and newspaper editor Karen (Kara Luiz) to destroy them by any means necessary.

Mitchell Altieri may be best known for his work with partner Phil Flores who (using the name The Butcher Brothers) have created some very unique genre pictures such as THE HAMILTONS and THE VIOLENT KIND. This is his first solo feature film as director and it’s not what you would expect from him judging by his previous projects. This is a very low-brow, juvenile film that had me laughing out loud for much of the duration. While the humor is infantile, dick jokes, fart jokes, etc. I’m not above laughing at them. THE NIGHT WATCHMEN just jumps right into the thick of everything, within minutes, the setup is revealed and the story is in full swing. In case you haven’t guessed, that means the red is flowing and our anti-heroes are sort of trying to save the day. The cast has a great chemistry, they work fantastic with one another and through the lunacy, you do develop a fondness for their characters. There’s a few cameos by veteran talent such as Tiffany Shepis, James Remar, and Rain Pryor. The vampire designs are pretty fantastic and there’s solid gore effects scattered throughout. I’m not the biggest fan of CGI blood so I wasn’t too keen on that but overall, this is solid entertainment.

THE NIGHT WATCHMEN chimes in at a trim 80min and it would be a perfect midnight movie and I would assume that’s the reason why it was chosen for Fantasia 2017. While it may not be perfect, it manages to deliver a few laughs, a bit of excitement, a dash of nudity, and plenty of blood, you really can’t ask for much more. It’s a hell of a crazy ride and one you may want to take more than once.

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