New Zealand is famous for… well lets be honest not very much really but The Devil Dared Me To attempts to change all that both in fiction and reality as the comedy duo of Chris Stapp and Matt Heath bring us a gore filled action movie about Randy Cambell a man on a mission to become New Zealand’s greatest daredevil stuntman.
Opening on Randy’s childhood the tiny kiwi dreams of becoming a mad stuntman like his dearly departed dad who died in a particularly nasty attempt leaving him under the charge of his safety obsessed uncle and hideously deformed aunt. Determined to defy both his guardian’s and the laws of life and death Randy heads out to see Dick Johansonson (Matt Heath) an arrogant daredevil whose team of stuntmen are legendary across the land
Taking part in one of Johansonson’s stunts to prove he has what it takes he meets a young girl named Tracy ‘Tragedy’ Jones whose nickname becomes all the more clear when the stunt goes wrong killing Randy’s aunt and uncle and taking off Tragedy’s leg.
Fast forward years later and Randy is now a man (played by Chris Stapp) working for Johansonson’s team as a toilet cleaner so close yet so far to becoming the daredevil he dreams of being. Johansonson has both lost his bottle and turned to the bottle so when a big time promoter turns up to see what the stunt team have got it is left to Randy to step up and show them all how its done.
One crazy stunt later and the team are singed up to a major tour but as Randy’s star rises Johansonson’s hate increases and it is not long before his hatred drives him to distraction devoting his life to destroying Randy’s whatever way he can.
Like a cross between Will Ferrell’s Talladega Nights and an 80’s gore fest horror movie The Devil Dared Me To is extremely politically incorrect and full of puerile puns, supreme swearing and offensive humour aimed squarely at a male market who love to watch a combination of smoking, drinking, car crashes and gross out comedy all of which it delivers.
Although a comedy The Devil Dared Me To’s biggest and most obvious inspiration is the early movies of Hobbit loving Peter Jackson. The most famous thing to come out of New Zealand since… well we covered that the opening… Jackson’s low budget horror comedy’s Braindead and Bad Taste where made on a shoestring budget but looked amazing showcasing his imagination and directorial flair and gaining him the credibility and the big budget movies he so rightly deserved.
Chris Stapp and Matt Heath obviously aim for the same having both written, directed and started in The Devil Dared Me To after creating the characters on their TV show in NZ. The film may not be an all out horror but has the same homemade feel as Jackson’s early work especially when it comes to the stunts, violence and gore which are the best parts and make up for the story which is pretty nonexistent at times.
With a heady mix of pumped up profanities, turbo fuelled testosterone, testicle crushing and car mashing stunts The Devil Dared Me To released through FrightFest Features plays perfectly to the audience its aimed at and much like the stunts themselves is an impressive feat for two first time film makers.