Dances With Films Festival 2020 review: ‘Hawk & Rev: Vampire Slayers’ kills as opening and closing night’s “Midnight movie”

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Manchild slacker Hawk is a very low-level security guard for an empty building. When he is convinced that he’s seen a trio of vampires next door, he calls in his pacifist hippie best friend to help him pursue the evil. After failing to fully enlist his former military prison inmate, (because he staked a fellow soldier with a 2X4) they run across a wannabe vampire genre writer and invites her to join his ragtag crew. Funny enough, there is most definitely a vampire on the loose. Some of the funniest sequences in the film happen sporadically throughout the film. A gym bro, a surfer dude, a couple… let’s say “necking”, all get viscously attacked in an alley.

For the majority of the film, Hawk and Rev are essentially messing around, having ridiculous but oddly philosophical conversation. The montages are undeniably hysterical and the practical fx are over the top. You cannot miss the spectacular soundtrack, either. Writer-director Ryan Barton-Grimley has really cultivated a cult film that knows exactly who its audience is. He and Ari Schneider are a perfect comedy duo. While Grimley is technically in more scenes, this film would not be nearly as funny without the fully realized performance from Schneider. Think John Heder in Napoleon Dynamite but more upbeat. I guffawed at so many of his individual beats, I lost count. It’s that good.

The writing is absurdly amusing. Just when you think a joke has run its course, think again. The quick take editing keeps you completely engaged. There is no denying Hawk and Rev is fun to watch. There is a reason it was both the opening and closing night “Midnight” showing at this year’s Dances With Films Festival. It’s a tongue-in-cheek, completely self-aware, 80’s homage. If you’re a horror movie nerd like me you absolutely have a blast watching this film. The only thing missing is… well, nothing. Fingers crossed this is the beginning of a solid Hawk and Rev franchise.



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