Fantasia 2017: The Night Watchmen
A quick prologue plays along with the opening credits to The Night Watchmen. It explains via news footage that Blimpo the clown and his famous traveling troupe of circus performers, all quickly succumbed to an unknown illness while on tour in Romania. We also see the bodies loaded onto a plane to be shipped back to the US for autopsy. For some reason.
We’re then introduced to the cast of characters The Night Watchmen are to oversee from their office building guard station, along with their new hire, who nobody bothers to learn the actual name of until the end of the film.
The carefree attitude the film shows these details applies to most of the rest of the proceedings, in all honesty—the clown Blimpo rises from his coffin to attack the owner of the company, and from there it seems everyone gets got in pretty quick succession after that. And by that, I mean that the very next scene in the office of this building shows nearly everyone already turned. But they’re turned into vampires, not zombies. Even though they move like fast zombies, and are pretty mindless like zombies. But they’re vampires, because garlic and holy symbols (but only Christian ones) repel them, and sunlight and stakes can kill them. It’s an odd set of choices.
Night Watchmen does try for humor to keep the audience’s attention, and there are a few good laughs, but mostly it’s homophobic jokes about friends being too friendly and literal fart gags.
Gore is not found in the proceedings all that much, but there are some decent fountains of blood and bile to be thrown around at points. One good gag involving someone thumbing a bullet hole in a vampire’s head like a Dutch boy with his finger in a dike, stemming the flow of a fire hose stream of blood is particularly fun.
Also worthy of a mention is James Remar in the part of the office’s boss, a total sleazebag pervert whose all-too-short screen time is wonderfully squirm-inducing. He uses great body language and an odd tic with his voice to really drive home how uncomfortable he can make everyone around him.
But overall, The Night Watchmen might work best as a midnight movie when you’re a few rounds in already. Some bright spots, but ultimately disappointing.