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.
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.