"Underfist" Is for the Underaged
Underfist is the tale of a young nerd named Irwin who, after being abandoned by his friends on Halloween night, must stop an evil army of candy from destroying the world, all the while coming to terms with his monster heritage. With a ragtag team of freaks and freakier freaks, Irwin faces the forces of sugary evils.
Honestly, I had no idea Underfist was related to Billy and Mandy when I first hit play; I thought it was some new Adult Swim show. But I was stricken in an interesting kind of way when I began to notice the familiar faces. The special serves more or less as a spinoff of the Grim/Evil universe, and I found the relatively scarce amount of screen time the original trio gets rather refreshing. Although the production crew shall be damned if Mary-Sue Mandy does not find herself—in a sick turn of fates—President of the United States in a time of crisis.
Irwin’s plight is older than the animation industry itself. He is conflicted, being afraid of what it means to be a ‘monster’ even while he still indulges his own vampire needs. What’s puzzling is how Irwin can be so fearful of his future when his no-nonsense—if partially senile and cranky—grandfather (Count Dracula) can pull of a quiet if highly unorthodox life as a seemingly normal “Get the heck off my lawn, you darn kids!” old man. But, alas, this telefilm is not for those with fists over the age of seven.
Irwin’s merry band of merry men includes Hoss Delgado, Jeff the Spider, Fred FredBurger, and the ever-obsessed-with-his-garden General Skarr; but though they’re a diverse bunch, they all, excepting the occasional sidestep out of cliché, fall into all-too-familiar stereotypes. Hoss is as ever a hardcore paranoid monster hunter while Jeff plays into the “I am an adult which means I have to give up my childhood” character arc. Fred’s unspeakable stupidity shines brighter than ever as he is made the brunt of many of the films jokes or is used to fill time by making an utter boob of himself after a cut from a previous scene. Skarr, while typically playing out the role of villain-forced-to-be-a-hero, does at least manage to remain somewhat rougher-edged than his cohorts.
The villain is an evil marshmallow bunny with a typical cute-gone-evil voice who leads an army of various other candy-based monsters. While not much of a threat visually, this bunny does manage to keep things busy for sixty minutes. Less clear is whether this is because he is a credible threat or because our heroes are un-credible protectors of justice.
Overall, Underfist is your typical annual Halloween film fluff designed to fill the airwaves and get younger folk hyped on something other than candy. Maybe you’ll find that enough.