Ever since seeing the preview trailer
for this a couple years ago, I have been waiting to see this movie. It dawns on me that it may have been 2012 when I saw this, back during my one year working return to the USA. My brother-in-law, a similarly minded geek to myself, determined that we'd see this together if it was at all possible. We would see it, and enjoy stellar beer while we did so.
During my January trip to California, I found that it had a one-night engagement at a local theater. I found out about it the day after the showing
. That was a little frustrating, but it's not like I had time.
It released last month on video, and I purchased a digital lease for streaming rights (because, let's face it, I don't own
a copy of the movie -- I'm just allowed to watch it as long as they're willing to stream it). As it turned out, my BIL managed to come out to Japan last week, and we were able to work in a viewing.
As you can imagine, we had built it up quite a bit in our heads. Equally as unsurprising, the movie doesn't live up to our hopes.
The movie's problem can be boiled down to editing. There are sections which are comedy, others which are drama, and the large remainder of it is a slasher flick without any rhyme or reason.
The comedy notes, the parts centered on geeks LARPing, are the best bits.
Next are all the implied backstory on the various characters; it feels like we've walked in on several competing groups of characters, each with their own history; however, it's apparent that most-or-all of that backstory and any callbacks referencing the humor, have been left on the cutting room floor. It's doubly sad, because these could have been the best bits of the movie. Apparently the hero had previously been a Game Master, and the current Game Master holds a sizable grudge against him for giving his Paladin character "Demonic Herpes." You just know there's a great story behind that, and likely some making amends as part of their character development. There are paintball rednecks who have a long-standing feud going on with the LARPers, and there's some potential for more rivalry and shenanigans, but it's never referenced.
Sadly, the movie spends about half its time focused on "the succubus from hell," following her around, watching her go through a re-creation of the T-800's learning curve as she kills her way through characters we've not seen before, have no reason to empathize with or fear for, until she eventually makes her way to our party of LARPers. It's cheesy, and could have been funny, but mostly it's just a straight up unstoppable killer slasher flick, and disappointing.
Perhaps the most disappointing bit was the end, where the hero uses an ability shown for laughs at the outset of the movie, which marginally makes sense considering the nature of spell casting shown, but was still poorly, ham-fistedly executed.
The True Blood dudes were good, Summer Glau was having fun, and Peter Dinklage was as awesome as ever. I'd love to see a Director's Cut of the movie to see what was hacked away to get to produce this otherwise confused mess.