Fanged Up is a new British horror comedy which I was invited to watch, in the knowledge that it stars Daniel O’Reilly, the infamous man behind Dapper Laughs. This is the sort of invitation which would send most people running for the hills, but while lad culture was once a ‘thing’, and his style of videos (on Twitter’s now-defunct service, Vine), where he would allegedly slander women – and that these were popular, was once a ‘thing’, the time came that he was called out on it.
He then appeared on Newsnight and showed a lot of contrition, and has had to reinvent himself, and good on him, too. He said he was taking the mickey out of how certain men think, so it’s a similar idea to Alf Garnett, who was a pastiche of certain old men in the UK back in the ’60s-80s.
So, is this a film you should sink your teeth into? (ho, ho, ho…)
Life isn’t great for Jimmy Ragsdale (O’Reilly), as there’s a petition to get him kicked out of the nightclub in which he works, which – as this is a horror movie – it has 666 signatures. A fight breaks out and, until he can get to see the judge on Monday, he’s transferred to the most horrendous prison in Britain – Stokesville – and cell 13, at that.
The Governor has a strange sorbet from time to time, which keeps him youthfully young… well, as young as Steven Berkoff can look… but why do prisoners keep disappearing? For those he’s forced to spend time with, what connects them all?
Okay, it’s not Shaun of the Dead, but then few horror comedies are. It does, however, have a lot of humour, such as when he walks past a cell that’s being cleaned because it’s drenched in blood, he asks what happened there, and they tell him the occupant “cut himself shaving(!)”, to which he replies, “What was he shaving with? An axe?!”
So, it’s vampires on a budget (or if I was using American vernacular – Dracula on a dime), but with sharp editing and great sound direction all around the speakers, the effect is nicely amplified and the plot builds up brilliantly, with great pacing.
That said, it does slow down a bit in the third act, but it’s still worth a watch, and it has the makings of a future cult classic. In addition, and as a rarity in cinema, there are jump scares which actually work!
And there’s even a callback to Arnie’s line in Commando, “Get to the chopper!!!!”
If I had to complain about anything, it’s a moment 46 minutes in when a sight-gag of flesh hanging off something is seen to drop off, for which the person standing in front of it is completely oblivious, but this has been added solely for that shot (either as a practical effect or, most likely, as CGI – just because it’s easier), since when you go back to the previous cut from that camera, the flesh wasn’t there before.
If you’re wondering what happened to Vine, the whole service grew so big that Twitter’s infrastructure couldn’t cope and rather than offer a half-arsed service, they knocked the whole thing on the head. You still have Youtube for a place to upload videos.
As a middle-aged man who likes to make and upload videos to Youtube, I find the process requires a PC, and that trying to do everything with a mobile phone – be it Vine or Instagram – is mostly, a no-go.
Note: This review is for the film only.
Fanged Up is available to pre-order on DVD, ahead of its release on July 30th.
Running time: 89 minutes
Studio: Altitude Film Distribution
Released: July 30th 2018
Director: Christian James
Producers: Terry Stone and Richard Turner
Screenplay: Nick Nevern, Daniel O’Reilly, Dan Palmer
Cast: Jimmy Ragsdale: Daniel O’Reilly
Katie Makepeace: Danielle Harold
Victor Stanczyk: Stu Bennett
Shifty: Vas Blackwood
Reeves: Stephen Marcus
Governor Payne: Steven Berkoff
Ms Renfield: Lauren Socha
Craig Patric: Chris R Wright
Alex Jason: Huw Samuel
Albert: Roland Manookian
Brute: Joe Egan
Howard Storm: Terry Stone
Bob the Patient: Ewen MacIntosh
Dr. Tom Wallace: Arron Crascall
Cell Guard: Joe Charman
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.