Fanged Up (2017, UK)

I think that this is the first romantic comedy I’ve seen where the couple spend a fair whack of the film drenched in the blood of exploding vampires. I may be wrong.

Jimmy Ragsdale (Daniel O’Reilly) is a lad; as offensive in his bogus big-noting as in his serial lewdness. After one too many smutty pick-up lines and untruths at the club where he works, and managing to insult his boss’s wife, he provokes a fight and finishes up being charged with, I don’t know… aggravated obnoxiousness? He’s remanded in custody over the weekend, but the local police lock-up is said to be full, so he is transferred to Stokesville Prison.

Jimmy has not been locked up before, and his anxiety is not helped when both the van driver and a fellow prisoner, your standard necrophiliac psychopath, shudder at the mention of Stokesville (played very nicely by the retired HMP Kingston in Portsmouth). On arrival he is met by ‘Warden’ Renfield (Lauren Socha) – “You can call her ‘Ms Renfield’ or ‘Sir'” – who doesn’t appear altogether welcoming. And then he is placed in a cell with a large Russian with a fearsome reputation, Victor Stanczyk (Stu Bennett), with whom Jimmy naturally shares some embarrassing personal anatomical detail. Who wouldn’t?

Victor, who likes to talk of his marauding pet bear, turns out to be more of a teddy bear himself. He tries to school Jimmy in how to behave in prison with, both sadly and predictably, a humour reminiscent of Get Hard (2015). Jimmy tries to prove his toughness by assaulting Shifty (Vas Blackwood), who turns out to be the most obliging and forgiving prisoner ever. But Jimmy does sufficiently annoy a prison officer enough to be hit on his head with a baton, and goes to see the doctor… who (surprise!) happens to be an ex-girlfriend, Dr Katie Makepeace (Danielle Harold), who hasn’t quite forgiven or forgotten him contracting gonorrhoea from a young girl on holiday.

Katie has just started working at the prison to see if she can discover what happened to her predecessor, and it’s not long before they start to work it out. That would be when one bloated prisoner, dressed in a prison officer’s uniform, reveals himself as a vampire and when a stake is driven through his heart explodes with buckets of blood and gore. Katie stumbles on the fact that not one prisoner sent to Stokesville has a next-of-kin, and that all are of the rare AB-negative blood group. In no time the realisation grows that they are there to serve Governor Payne (Steven Berkoff) and his vampire officers; they are not just prisoners, but are “breakfast, lunch and dinner.” “Think of it as a simple solution to prison overcrowding,” says Payne.

This is watchable, but uneven, schlock horror; the joyous celebrations of gore and a humorous late plot twist have to ward off some fairly execrable lines (Jimmy alluding to ‘constipated land’ instead of ‘consecrated land’, for example, ho ho), some tired gags surrounding a first-timer’s bumbling efforts not to look like a first-timer, and some narrative threads that are more opaque than they need to be. It does well, really, to be so inoffensive.




Posted on January 27th, 2021 at 10:46 pm. Updated on January 27th, 2021 at 10:46 pm.

#294 in the Top 500

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