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Fang, Bat, Stake



A film with a somewhat familiar plot... but overall entertaining story. It took me a while to figure out that they were vampires, as I was bit confused by the constant returning to the same house with different products - perhaps there needed to be an extra scene in there where Vlad talks to the other guy about his motivation for making the sale on this particular customer, which would make the betrayal all the better at the end.

A couple of ghoulish salesmen discuss just how important it is to be invited in by prospective clients. Once you have that offer, you rule the game. From here, the less succesful of the two tries many times to make his way into a woman's house with a variety of products leading to a darkly comic payoff.

I liked the attempt at world building, breaking the rules for vampires with sunlight not an issue and their own little varation on paper/scissors/rock (the titular game) giving them some character. Also despite being small scale with one house/doorway used for the vast majority of the film, this had some great cinematic moments with fantastic use of closeups and on-point editing.

I think your unsuccessful salesman did a fantastic job, and the other being more successful simply based on a big personality and a smile hit very close to home as to how things sadly often go in the real world.

Just from an actual story point of view, this did feel like quite familiar, though the subversive elements helped it immensely.

Story: 2.5/5
Technical: 3.5/5
Elements: 2.5/5
Overall: 3/5

JAGBOG has had a pretty solid run in the last couple years, this being their second finalist in a row after years of deserving films juuuust missing out.

There is some great stuff here, technically it's super strong with awesome camera and sound work - I particularly loved all the grotesque close ups.

Great use of genre too, I'm glad one INVITATION movie tapped into the vampiric association here.

I think, for me, the weaknesses of this film come down to a story I'm not entirely clear on - I don't quite understand why our hero vampire is A) visiting the same woman every day and B) selling something different every day - it feels like it should be either, he's trying to sell the same thing to her every day, or he's selling to different people every day - not sure what's going on here and this distraction permeated the whole movie.

I think there's also some inherent difficulty of building a compelling narrative out of a pretty simple Paper Scissors Rock clone, but you still have 3 acts and an ending, even if the second act is just a montage.

Things you got right: A slick looking film with some strong lead performances

Things to work on for next time: I think I prefer the crazier more insane JAGBOG films, while this one was a little more subdued, with lower stakes a bit of a confusing set up. My advice would be to embrace your weirder past films with the finalist know-how of your recent films!

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