Reviewbr> "If Charlie Wicks wants new blend, he's going to get new blend!" - Lindsay Morgan
The Morgan brothers, Reg and Lindsay, operator an organic fertiliser business near the outback town of Yandoit. They have recently invented a new blend, which is achieving remarkably results, only problem is the blend requires the victims of road accidents. Since road accidents have been pretty thin on the ground since the "Salvo Six", Reg is cruising the back roads looking for car wreckage. He comes across a road crash, and retrieves the body of a Roadie, who was clearly headed to the local music festival prior to his car leaving the road and hitting a tree. Later Reg runs across three festival goers whose car has broken down and decides to give them a lift. He is clearly smitten by Sophie, one of the trio, but is less concerned with James and Wesley, her two companions. He warns that he needs to drop into the factory and pick up a few extra bags of fertiliser.
Naturally things don't go quite to plan and Lindsay is less than impressed with Reg's idea to pick up passengers, especially since James and Wesley have discovered the partially concealed body of the Roadie in the back of the van. The three festival goers end up tied up in the fertiliser shed while Lindsay demonstrates his pride and joy, a meat grinder. Unfortunately for the three prisoners Lindsay discovers that adding live meat to the blend does wonders for its nutrient content. Seems Lindsay is a bit of a psychopath and has a major order to fulfil with not much product at hand, Reg is having a change of heart due to Sophie, and Wesley has more drugs than a bikie gang. A horror comedy with a decent dose of claret ensues.
There's something deceptively simple about 100 Bloody Acres, it seems a straight up splatter comedy flick till you work out the Brothers Cairnes actually known what they are doing and more importantly know how horror ticks. They establish their credentials with a reference to Blue Sunshine (1978), a cult horror flick involving murder and LSD, and then lay down the dark genre beat like seasoned pros. We care about the characters we are meant to care about, Sophie and surprisingly Reg, the movie has cannon fodder we don't care about, James and Wesley, and we have a cold blooded psychopathic killer in Lindsay. Add in a couple of cameos from Chrissie Page (Nancy) and John Jarratt (Burke) and we're good to go. If the Cairnes had of jettisoned the comedy elements they would have had a bloody, no pun intended, good horror flick of the backwoods massacre variety. The Morgans could have easily fitted the Sawyer requirements in this regard.
But with every splatter scene we have comedy of the Peter Jackson circa Braindead variety. While painting the screen red the Cairnes are having a hoot with it. I'm not going to give too much away here, like all good horror comedies you need to watch the flick to get the inherent humour as it revolves around situational rather than slap stick. While a lot of the humour is pure Strine, foreign viewers should still be able to get with the groove here, though around the 1:15 mark you might be knocked on your arse. Frack me wasn't expecting that, the Cairnes pulled a bouncer out of their bag of tricks. The comedy isn't of the laugh out loud variety, more the recurrent grin worthy scenes that do involve developing the characters, which the Cairnes Bros do effortlessly. Full marks for the comedy, there is going to be a lot of referencing to different ideas from this movie here at ScaryMinds.
Excellent horror comedy that matches backwoods with splatter and rounds out with love amongst the gore
One of the big divides in Australian cinema is tackled in 100 Acres, City versus Country. A theme that runs through diverse Australian movies from Wake In Fright (1971), through The Cars That Ate Paris (1974), to Storm Warning (2007). Drive out of any major City, hit the outback, and the locals are just priming to slaughter you if your car breaks down. Just ask Mick Taylor, the movies have rural Australia fill of psychopaths. 100 Bloody Acres revolves around the character of Sophie in this regard, she is the country lass who has moved to the City and become an urban chick. Like Allison in Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (2010) Sophie only needs to run into the local rednecks before her country upbringing comes to the fore. In Aussie terms this involves liking Slim Dusty and being a dab hand at various farming implements. No wonder Reg jettisons his dream girl Becs, apparently Rebecca Gibney, Sophie embodies his ideal lady. Only problem being Sophie is in a relationship with floppy boy James and is regretting a one night fling with the obnoxious Wesley. And of course Lindsay isn't as smitten; the less said about Lindsay's preferences the better. The Cairnes Bros are across the Country meets City thing, without unduly satirising the Country or for that matter the City. Sure they like 1970s easy listening in the Country and the local amenities don't go much beyond the piss weak Fairyland village, which apparently opens every third Sunday of the month, but salt of the earth time.
Okay the obvious question is how much will the gorehounds be baying to the moon after catching this movie. While the primary location is grunge city music hall the movie is to a certain extent prim and proper. We do get the odd lobbed off limb gag, excellent use of prosthetics by the way, and a body put through the meat grinder, but that's about all she wrote. Lindsay goes mental at one stage with a hand gun, but to be honest we're talking 1970s television gunshots rather than Sam Peckinpah bloodbaths. I'm signing off on this aspect, the movie splashes some claret around but isn't intent on going Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974). Must admit when I read "Morgan's Organic - We'll Fertilize Ya!" I was expecting something slightly more explicit in the deranged hillbilly murder stakes.
I guess I mentioned the comedy previously, but you might what to listen to the dialogue the Cairnes boys have conjured up, some classic lines being tossed into the mix, "... If the star's were maligned ...". While Reg gets the best lines, stated unintentionally, Lindsay also on occasion drops a saying that had me all smiles, "come on Reg we're not here to fuck spiders". Don't know maybe it's a Downunder thing, but hey if reading from OS then get some Aussie Kulture, with a capital "K", into youse.
The Cairnes brothers have put together a very solid cast for mine. Damon Herriman (Reg) is rocking it as the none too bright country lad who really doesn't want to be grinding people up alive. Angus Sampson (Lindsay) is suitably menacing, and that beard was a stroke of genius, he looks like a deranged Amish bricklayer searching for an axe. And Anna McGahan (Sophie) sure was good to look at while nailing her role with consummate ease.
I had been fanging to see this movie since I ran across early press releases back in 2012. As usual it took a while for regional Australia to get the flick; a limited theatre run put back the release till late 2013. Surprisingly I got the DVD for Christmas, God bless Santa, and the wait was worth it. I haven't had this much fun with a horror-comedy since Tucker and Dale. The plot is engaging, the characters are working, and the Cairnes Bros pull off a couple of surprises. What more do you need in your Boxing Day viewing schedule? Bonus for mine was the release by Hopscotch was chock full of extras that I actually wanted to check out rather than ignore. Fair dinkum, this could well be the best Downunder horror comedy of the decade, youse would be a mug not to check it out. Full recommendation kids, I'd walk over a 100 acres to grab a copy of this little beauty!