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Knights of Badassdom – an annoyed review

As a grade-B horror comedy with well-known actors, maybe I should cut this film some slack. As someone who LARPed for 12 years, I can’t.

The story of Knights of Badassdom may be new to the general public, but it’s overly familiar to any LARPer, RPG gamer, or SF fan: what if a group of role-players actually met a fantasy creature?

The film has the standard ingredients of low-end horror films: buckets of blood, characters that exist to be slaughtered, protagonists that behave with incredible stupidity. If you’re a fan of the kind of film satirized by The Cabin in the Woods you’ll be on familiar ground.

What annoyed me was the film’s depiction of live-action role-playing. It’s a comedy, and perhaps I should allow them some license. But I’m annoyed that every single LARPer in the film fits the standard negative stereotypes: a mix of dysfunctional personalities, poor role-playing, and bad sportsmanship, set in a LARP with with a terrible (and inconsistent) rules system.

Mild spoiler: In the end, the only protagonists who turn out to be effective are the ones who reject the idea of LARPing from the start.

This film was locked in a dispute over distribution rights for two years. I looked forward to its release in the hope that it might be a film that showed LARPing in a positive light, or at least encouraged LARP acceptance. By the end of the film, I was not amused, scared, or entertained. I was disappointed.

Maybe someday there’ll be a film in which the hobby of LARPing isn’t treated as a joke. Knights of Badassdom is not it.

Originally published at Argothald. You can comment here or there.

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