Knights Of Badassdom
This was the official website for the 2014 Knights of Badassdom, a film about Live Action Role Players (or LARPers) – men and women who act out Dungeons and Dragons in real settings, in costumes. The content below is from movie reviews.
Rating: R (for horror violence, language throughout, some drug use and sexuality)
Genre: Action & Adventure, Comedy, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By: Joe Lynch (V)
Written By: Matt Wall, Kevin Dreyfuss
In Theaters: Jan 21, 2014 limited
On Disc/Streaming: Apr 1, 2014
Runtime: 85 minutes
Studio: Entertainment One Films
Knights Of Badassdom Official Trailer #1 (2013) with Peter Dinklage
TOMATOMETER CRITICS 62% | AUDIENCE 37%
Knights of Badassdom: Finally, a Movie About LARP (And Syphilis)
Angela Watercutter Wired 02.12.14.
Summer Glau, Ryan Kwanten and Steve Zahn star in the LARPing horror-comedy Knights of Badassdom. Photo courtesy IndieVest Pictures
It’s hard to imagine a movie getting closer to the platonic ideal of nerdity than Knights of Badassdom. It’s about live action role-playing (LARPing). It’s got Game of Thrones’ Peter Dinklage, Community’s Dany Pudi, Firefly’s Summer Glau, and a succubus. It ruled Hall H at Comic-Con International (which is like being the halftime show at the Super Bowl, if people watching the Super Bowl not only cared, but regularly freaked out about the halftime show). It almost sounds too good to be true; in fact, after waiting more than two years for its release, some of us were starting to think it had all been a dream. But now it’s finally here—it’s on VOD starting this week, with a theatrical run ongoing.
Well, it’s not bad, but it’s not what it could have been. Which isn’t surprising, given the circuitous path it took to our screens.
Knights tells the epic quest of two LARPing friends—Eric, a guy “about to level-up to grand sorcerer” (Steve Zahn) and Hung (Dinklage)—who seek to cheer up their recently-dumped friend Joe (True Blood‘s Ryan Kwanten) by whisking him off to a LARP in a campsite dressed up as the fields of Evermore. While Joe was once a Dungeons & Dragons legend who gave a competitor’s paladin “demonic syphilis,” he’s since left the fantasy realm and become a mechanic and doom-metal singer; the last thing he wants to do to get over his ex-girlfriend is play with swords in the woods, but after his pals get him drunk and stoned and kidnap him in their van, he has little choice.
However, he finally starts to get down with the LARP—or at least with the company of the sword-wielding Gwen (Glau)—and that’s when things get weird. Very weird. (Thankfully, good weird.) Using an old book of spells acquired from the internet, Eric accidentally summons a succubus, who immediately goes on a murderous rampage. (It also looks like straight out of an ’80s B-movie or issue of Heavy Metal, so bonus points for that.)
From there, Knights goes from a parade of talk-nerdy-to-me jokes to a little-guys-save-the-day action-horror flick. If you get the jokes—or know enough about geek subcultures to laugh at them—it’s totally worth a stream. (I caught an early screening for audiences who had campaigned to bring it to their town, and there plenty of laughs and hoots of approval.) If a joke about friction between dragon-slaying LARPers and vampire LARPers isn’t your jam, you may want to steer clear; while LARP is a subculture that doesn’t get many good cinematic moments, it can be a head-scratcher for those who don’t know much about it.
Dinklage, as always, is a highlight. His character is high on ‘shrooms for half the movie, and thanks to his work as Tyrion Lannister, no one knows more about sauntering around a kingdom than Peter Dinklage. Yet, despite some legitimately hilarious performances (extra shouts to Danny Pudi and Jimmi Simpson) and a sweet LARPer-friendly story, Knights has its moments of clumsiness. Its tonal shifts are often abrupt, jumping between comedy and horror, and occasionally loses its footing.
Dumdums and dragons in ‘Knights of Badassdom’
By Michael Sragow | Orange County Register
January 23, 2014
January 30, 2014 | Rating: D
Orange County Register
This movie about Live Action Role Players (or LARPers) – men and women who act out Dungeons and Dragons in real settings, in costumes – is so haphazard it might have been thought up during a game of Mad Libs. Steve Zahn and Peter Dinklage play “accidental millionaires” who live in a suburban castle with an auto mechanic and a would-be Doom Metal star played by Ryan Kwanten.
At least “accidental millionaires” is how the rocker’s girlfriend (Margarita Levieva) describes his friends right before she breaks up with him. His buddies rope him into a LARP event featuring hordes of players who look like they travel between medieval fairs and Comic-Cons. The surprise guests are actual monsters – a succubus version of the ex-girlfriend, who soon splashes gore over her sleazy blue cocktail dress, and a horned demon straight from hell. Zahn has inadvertently conjured them from his reading of “a random page” from a book of demons he bought on eBay.
The whole movie puts the emphasis on “random.” Did I mention the county sheriff who hates LARPers and, with his henchmen, loves to spray them with paintballs?
“Knights of Badassdom” doesn’t even come together as a junk-food casserole. The screenwriters, Matt Wall and Kevin Dreyfuss, settle for goofy facetiousness: They think it’s hilarious to paste vulgar colloquial translations on the screen as subtitles for arch medieval folderol. The result is just a cutesy kind of dirtiness. That’s not enough to knit together a movie. And even if they knew how to build a series of jokes, the director, Joe Lynch, probably wouldn’t know how to time them and make them kill. He’s even worse at physical killing, which in this film is neither horrifying nor horrifyingly funny.
“Game of Thrones’” star Peter Dinklage gets his laughs by sheer dint of concentration, and Summer Glau displays incongruous grace and poise as a fetching LARPer. Otherwise, this comes off as a game of drones.
Oh, the meta-horror of 'Knights of Badassdom'
'Knights of Badassdom'
Ryan Kwanten stars as Joe in Entertainment One's upcoming release "Knights of Badassdom." (Pete Moroz / Entertainment One Films)
By Martin Tsai
January 23, 2014
A monster flick set amid a medieval festival, "Knights of Badassdom" appears to pay homage to the Troma brand of comedic horror.
When stuck-up Beth (Margarita Levieva) dumps ne'er-do-well Joe (Ryan Kwanten), his roommates Hung (Peter Dinklage) and Eric (Steve Zahn) promptly pass him a bottle of whiskey and a bong to help nurse his heartbreak. He awakens in full armor at a campsite that medieval reenactors have descended upon for a cosplay extravaganza.
While chanting magical poppycock during a wizard ritual, Eric unwittingly summons a demon that takes the shape of Beth and snacks on the hearts of unsuspecting players.
VIRTUAL TOUR: Hollywood's Walk of Fame
Even without the characteristic self-reflexive meta-ness, "Knights" could have fit comfortably on the Dimension Films slate during the late 1990s horror renaissance. More than a decade later, though, it seems more like a marketing nightmare for Entertainment One Films — as evidenced by its two-year delay and by-request-only release outside Los Angeles. Guess that "Game of Thrones" selling point — Dinklage — wasn't enough.
"Knights of Badassdom" actually delivers everything the 2011 Danny McBride-James Franco comedy "Your Highness" purported to be but fell short on. The film is "This Is the End" festooned with Middle Ages accouterments. In spite of its B-movie low-tech effects, the cheesiness does not attenuate the gruesomeness quotient.
"Knights of Badassdom." MPAA rating: R for horror violence, language, drug use and sexuality. Running time: 1 hour, 25 minutes. At Arena Cinema, Hollywood.
'Knights of Badassdom' stars Peter Dinklage, Steve Zahn, now on DVD and Blu-ray
By Chris Ball, The Plain Dealer April 10, 2014
Few actors can ham it up as naturally as Peter Dinklage and Steve Zahn, but even their prodigious ability to wing it can’t save this witless comedy.
At least it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Live-action role-playing enthusiasts spend weekends in the woods dressing up in medieval costumes and dueling with foam swords. Usually their only worries are unwelcome incursions by redneck paintballers.
Improbably, an ancient book of magical spells is found, and they accidentally summon an evil demon that isn’t obligated to abide by their carefully crafted code of honor. While this low-budget 2013 stoner dreck, by its very nature, carries low expectations, it should produce more laughs than groans. R, 86 minutes. Extras: interviews, behind-the-scenes material and a San Diego Comic-Con panel. From Entertainment One. Released April 1.
Knights of Badassdom the Horror-Nerd Hybrid
Rating 4 Brains
Directed By: Joe Lynch
Zombie Lady Posted on April 7, 2014
Extremely badass with a side order of nerd-fantasy-role-playing. Can I say, "yes please"? Eric just about sums up the narrative when he enthusiastically says to Joe, "Join us in tasting the sweet nectar of victory! Or mope around an empty house all week like a b****!". Joe, who was previously dumped by his girlfriend, has been playfully kidnapped by his friends and brought to a live action dungeons and dragons extravaganza in the woods! "It's a lot like you remember it.", says Hung, "except for sitting around a table, we do it for real." Unbeknownst to the protagonists, this renaissance fair of fantasy gamers is about to get dunked in a brutal blood bath of demon succubus death dealing.
I totally enjoyed Knights of Badassdom (2013)! Not only do we get some great sword fighting action, we get a ridiculous role playing nerd-out fantasy quest fest, with a good horror twist to boot! This horror-comedy has a blast poking fun at the so called fantasy role-playing crowd, while simultaneously empowering them as the story's heroes and our standard Hollywood role models. I must say I quite enjoyed the low-budget aesthetics – taking me right back to Sam Rami's Army of Darkness (1992). Instead of a crazy expensive semi-good looking 3D special effects monster they were creative within the boundaries of the budget and came up with a freaking awesome demon succubus monster from Hell. Summoned from an ancient book off eBay (go figure), the Hell creature assumes the form of the protagonist's recently ex-girlfriend (or should I say ex-girlfiend) and promptly reigns destruction on the camp of innocent live-action-role-players (LARP). The monster, which I'm pretty sure was a bigger than life size puppet, was grotesquely extravagant and yet perfectly fitting for the film.
Not only was I totally entertained, I thought this film actually had some great qualities, reminding me at moments of The Pick of Destiny (2006). Let's dissect a few in the sections below.
While Knights aims at a giving it's audience a fun ride, it is also very clever in it's delivery of the fantasy-horror film hybrid. The antagonist in this film is the demon wench that Eric summons but a closer look shows that the real conflict is in Joe's character transformation. Joe dreams of becoming a death metal rockstar but is constantly held back by his girlfriend who doesn't give his music credit or allow him to follow his dreams. Quite perfectly, the demon that Eric calls forth from Hell extracts the visage of Joe's girlfriend from Joe's brain during the ritual. This places the demon succubus in the narrative as both a real big problem for the characters as well as a metaphor for Joe's need to break free of his repressive girlfriend and become the rocker he was always meant to be (and get a new, way hotter girlfriend)!
Let's take a quick look at any historical relevance this film may be drawing upon. In case you are new to the fantasy genre, a succubus is a mythological creature found in the stories of both western and eastern cultures and religions. In mythology the succubus is represented sometimes as an extremely attractive seductress while other times a creature of zoomorphism, such as a deformed human with bird or serpent body parts. In Knights we get all of the above while the demon starts out looking like Joe's girlfriend but ends up as a boated slimy monster. This shows that at least the film makers did a little research before crafting this mythological based hack and slash fantasy. The film shows the female demon using her womanly charms to seduce and kill her victims. However Knights focuses way more heavily on the blood and guts side of the demon's folklore then the seduction side, which works nicely for the film's horror goals, but isn't totally accurate per se. But who cares! Right?
All in all though Knights isn't trying to be historically accurate by any means. It's trying to show that fantasy gamers are cool people too and shows that you don't need a bunch of crappy 3D animations to make a freaking great monster flick! I think this film gets its strength from its acting, ridiculously silly but clever narrative, and it's classic low budget special effects.
I thought Knights was pretty tasteful with its special effects. A good two thirds of the film is based in reality and warrants no special treatment aside from good editing, well used smoke, and cool misty moonlit shots of the forest landscape. I like how they integrated things simply instead of overdoing it. For example, when the succubus magically appears after the conjuring, Hung just tosses a harmless smoke bomb on the ground as they walk away. Instead of doing some extravagant animation of a demon rising from the underworld here, the succubus is revealed as the smoke clears. The only effects applied are some tasteful and subtle animations as the blood on her face gets slowly absorbed into the perfect seductress complexion, showing the audience her dark and unnatural power.
The first victims's death is a little cheesy where the succubus rips the man's jaw open and we see a sub-par special effect. I think this is the only lacking shot in the whole film, at least for me. The monster version of the succubus is a very cool costume or puppet thanks to a good makeup effects artist. I really liked that the demon was not comprised solely of computer graphics, as we are now so accustomed to seeing in movies. The finale of the film does have some very cool lightning and fire effects though, which are certainly the result of some computer rendering - though it almost looks like they could have lit the monster on fire for the final scene. That would have been fun! When Hung is brought back from the dead we see some cool glowing effects and deep red burning eyes. Again subtle and tasteful. The most obvious computer generated portion of the film is probably the churning blood red storm clouds that form behind Joe as uses his death metal powers in the final battle. It looks very video game-ish, but I think it fits the scene and doesn't distract from the story line. As a whole I think the use of fog machines and good editing does this film great credit. By not overdoing the special effects the narrative and humor is allowed to carry the film to success instead of being overwhelmed by unnecessary computer graphics.
Super awesome cast on this one. I can only imagine how much fun it must have been to read this script and get invited to be a part of such a unique project. The cast is as follows. Joe, played by Ryan Kwanten, who is most known from the vampire series, True Blood. Hung, played by Peter Dinklage, from most recently Game of Thrones. Eric played by Steve Zahn. Gwen played by Summer Glau who I will forever remember as River in the sci-fi TV series Firefly. And don't forget Lando, played by Danny Pudi from the TV show, Community. Each of these actors and actresses kick ass in making their characters feel real as we can identify with each of them in this wonderfully entertaining comedy. The actors and actresses are just serious enough to pull it off, but you know they can't stop laughing in-between cuts.
*** Dave R
February 12, 2014
Well It was dumb but then it wasn't I liked it had some funny moments to it action cheesy but then again it's not what I thought it would be.
*** Drew R
February 12, 2014
Sure, it was fun. I was much more into Summer Glau, Peter Dinklage, and Danny Pudi than the demon stuff. Also, yay geekdom.
February 12, 2014
Worth seeing on the big screen, I enjoyed the mix of talent that this film brought together, the plot moved fast, and jumped around a bit at times. thank goodness this is now available for audiences
***** Chris V
February 11, 2014
Verily it 'twas awesome. If your a fanboy you will love this movie! A cult favorite for years to come.
**** Jude G
February 11, 2014
Knights of Badassdom is a hugely enjoyable, well acted and very funny movie. It may have a ridiculous storyline, but Knights of Badassdom is too much fun to care
** Dustin M
February 11, 2014
It just wasn't funny.
****½ Lovro H
February 11, 2014
Indeed a badass movie! :D I enjoyed it from the beginning till the end. The story was interesting, I'd watch anything with this kind of a theme. It had a very good cast and the music was just wow. The ending was freaking epic! Usually these kind of movies aren't really that good, but this one kicked ass! I recommend it to every single man on Earth!
*** Douglas R
February 11, 2014
One fun ride that surly should not be missed! For thy movie is bittersweet!
***½ Taylor G
February 9, 2014
Fun and made me laugh a lot.
**** Jason B
February 1, 2014
LARPers vs Succubus = highly entertaining movie. Wonderfully cast (although it was weird to see Abed in there trying his hardest not to play Abed). Steve Zahn kills every scene he's in (per usual) and everyone loves Peter Dinklage (and will continue to love him after this movie). Ryan Kwanten was surprisingly great and holds his own with the other two. Really have to hand it to director Joe Lynch. I listen to his podcast with Adam Green and for some reason always considered him the lesser director, but I enjoyed this way more than the Hatchet movies. It's not perfect, there's some sketchy succubus CG and the gore could have been more splattery, but maybe that'll be fixed in an unrated version. Highly recommended if you like goofy horror comedies.
*** Michael H
January 31, 2014
Not bad at all. I enjoyed it. Glad it's finally getting put out to a few theaters. I do wonder what the movie was like before the rumored tampering of the production company who release went back in, basically kicked the filmmakers off the project, then recut the movie... allegedly. I like this version just fine, but I'm just curious.
** Sean G
January 30, 2014
This film about live action role players has been languishing on a shelf since its trailer excited nerds several years ago. This usually means that a movie is terrible or occasionally that the studio believes its audience is limited. There was hope that Knights of Badassdom was the former but despite low expectations this movie is terrible; amateurish storytelling, disjointed pacing, bland acting and worst of all it doesn't recognize its strengths. It disposes of its most interesting characters/the actors doing good work with bad material.
It definitely has its charm and funny moments, mostly in the performances from Peter Dinklage and Jimmi Simpson, but overall it is a great concept with derivative and amateurish execution.