Film review: 100 BLOODY ACRES, from Built For Speed

100 Bloody Acres is a low–budget Australian horror/comedy that provides a humorous but still gory, spin on backwoods slasher films like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Wolf Creek.

In typical hillbilly horror fashion, the film begins with three pretty young people Sophie (Anna McGahan), her boyfriend James (Oliver Ackland) and their annoying English backpacker mate Wes (Jamie Kristian), lost in the backblocks of rural Australia as they head to a music festival.  A chance meeting with twitchy truck-driver Reg (Damon Herriman) turns into a nightmare as they discover that Reg and his psychotic bullying brother Lindsay (Angus Sampson) (clearly their parents were country music fans) use human carcasses for their supercharged fertilizer brand and the three Gen Y party animals are next in line for the mincer.

Although deliberately ridiculous and often genuinely funny, 100 Bloody Acres is not an outright parody of the slasher film genre in the way Scary Movie was.  It gleefully subverts the slasher genre’s tropes but maintains a sufficiently strong narrative to generate at least some tension and excitement from the characters’ predicament. The film’s jokiness does, however, make the gory scenes more palatable.

The film delights in drawing quirky, Aussie pop-culture icons into its world of blood soaked gore.  With its constant references to Leyland P-76 cars, John Williamson and Chad Morgan as well as Reg’s disturbing fetish for Rebecca Gibney, the film is as much a pastiche of cheesy Australiana as it is of horror films.

While the cut price horror/ comedy is hardly the place for Oscar-winning acting, the performances in this film are surprisingly impressive.  Damon Herriman is particularly good as he infuses the downtrodden Reg with both horrible and touchingly human qualities.  Angus Sampson seems well-suited to the villain role as he makes the leering, slobbering Lindsay genuinely menacing. Anna McGahan is luminous and completely at ease with both the horror and comedy aspects of this film. Jamie Kristian is so convincing as the obnoxious, smart-ass, irresponsible, sleaze-bag English back-packer Wes he enters the pantheon of the most irritating characters in cinema history.  Oliver Ackland does an admirable job as the resident nice guy but has less opportunity to impress as he spends much of the film tied up and gagged.

100 Bloody Acres occasionally spins its wheels in repetitive and predictable scenes and at times has the aroma of a cut-price student film but it’s mostly a funny, gleefully ridiculous gore fest.

Nick’s rating: Three stars.

Classification: MA.

Director(s): Cameron Cairnes, Colin Cairnes

Release date: 1st Aug 2013

Running time: 91 mins.


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