For Worse and for Worst
There are exactly two interesting things about My Bloody Wedding:
1. It stars Morgan Mead as Calista DeFord. Days before getting married to Doug (Patrick Babbitt), she is possessed by a cursed necklace that turns her and her bridesmaids into day-walking vampires (they're later upgraded, inexplicably, to demon status). My Bloody Wedding was directed by another Morgan Mead, an indie filmmaker from South Bend, IN, who wrote the movie with his leading lady.
2. The film was shot in 11 days on a paltry budget of $15,000, but it looks like a million bucks. Seriously, Mead, Mead and company have crafted one of the sharpest, slickest indie films I've seen, and their story of begging and borrowing to fulfill their passion is truly inspirational.
The problem is that the minute or so it took you to read this back-story is more entertaining and compelling than anything in the actual movie. My Bloody Wedding is a slog, a heartbreaking chore whose stubborn refusal to end nearly brought tears to my eyes. Apparently, the Meads' horror-comedy influences begin with Scary Movie 2 and end at Scary Movie 4. This film wants to be Airplane! by way of Demitri Martin, but it's not even Vampires Suck.
There's no point delving further into the plot, except to say that Doug and his best man Steve (Kyle S. More) must fend off horny vampires and, eventually, an army of undead wedding attendees with the help of a park custodian named Clyde (David Fultz), a scaredy-cat luchador (Tristan Ross), and Doug's pet robot (Nick Temperman and Ryan Curtiss). Okay, to be fair, that's the second half of the movie. The first half is a quarter-baked hybrid of Once Bitten and an homage to the American Pie series involving Doug's need to lose his virginity before getting married (if you believe, as do I, that the best comedy--even the most farcical--comes from honesty, then there's no way that Doug's two best friends not knowing he's a virgin can be considered funny; if there is humor to be mined from this implausible scenario, the Meads are ill-equipped prospectors).
Every joke, exaggerated-beyond-belief body movement, and wacky facial contortion in My Bloody Wedding has been stolen from better movies and Bugs Bunny cartoons. My Bloody Wedding has "hipster" comedy written all over it, which, I'd wager, is what the Meads were counting on when they wrote this thing. Hipsters, you see, don't go to shitty comedies--outside of the occasional "ironic" trip to the multiplex to see White Chicks. So it makes perfect sense that they might find tired sight gags and bizarre, fourth-wall-breaking infomercial interludes hilarious. But for anyone who's sat through Epic Movie or indulged in a Suite Life of Zack and Cody marathon on The Disney Channel (fuck you, it was a bonding experience with my father-in-law, okay?), there's nothing even smile-worthy here.
I appreciate what the Meads accomplished as filmmakers. The lighting, wardrobe and camerawork are superb, and I think that Morgan Mead (the director) has a bright future in Hollywood. He's leagues above his contemporaries when it comes to putting on a professional show, and his attention to detail was the only thing that kept me hanging on during 90 minutes of poorly choreographed fight scenes and lazy references to Star Wars and Dead Alive.
Some of you will no doubt jump down my throat for not "getting" My Bloody Wedding. Let me assure you, I understand the movie completely; I just don't accept it. Its supporters will likely use the "It's Supposed to be Bad" Defense--which is never a good sign. Films that set out to achieve the amateur aesthetic--particularly ones where the performers intentionally act like they're either untalented or uninterested--are often terrible; especially if this aesthetic runs the entire length of the movie.
If I were to insist on telling you ninety minutes of knock-knock jokes, with each one punctuated by a snarky "Get it?" and a fake shoulder punch, you might get four bits in before becoming angry. That's My Bloody Wedding in a nutshell, and I would've much rather the Meads taken the time to develop original (or, God forbid, funny) material rather than take the coward's way out.
I mentioned the Scary Movie series earlier, but didn't mention the first one. The Wayans Brothers' 2000 film was pretty funny; it's hard to believe, or even remember that being true because of the twenty or so knock-offs that have surfaced in the ensuing decade. But what that movie offered--like Airplane! and The Naked Gun before it--was a biting, smart satire of a particular film genre (as well as a few now-dated pop culture references). The team behind Scary Movie loved horror movies enough to appeal to fans with dead-on jokes about their beloved slashers' most ridiculous elements. Later installments fell into the trap of Xerox-ing a formula--of parodying parodies, which never works.
This trail of uninspired failure has led us right down the aisle to My Bloody Wedding, a movie that believes there's inherent, sustainable humor in just showing a luchador and a robot in frame or forcing us to watch several minutes of Clyde fighting zombies with the same bloody squibs exploding on his face. If the Meads work together again, I humbly suggest that they raise a little extra money to hire a writer. My Bloody Wedding may be a $15,000 technical masterpiece, but its ideas are positively bankrupt.