If you ever had the thought that what movies like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Wrong Turn or The Hills Have Eyes really needed to achieve greatness was just that little bit of down home humor, then 100 Bloody Acres is definitely the movie for you. I can safely say it’s probably the most charming – a word I don’t use very often – gorefest I’ve ever seen. It has that same type of appeal of a Coen Bros. film to a degree, particularly Fargo, in that you have an interestingly quirky cast with an appealing group dynamic in a crazy situation. Written and directed by fist-time directing brothers Colin and Cameron Cairnes, the film should do well in American markets once word gets out about it, or at the very least gain instant cult status for the genre rules-breaking delight it turned out to be.
It’s a surprisingly believable and even more surprisingly funny take on the well-worn “unwary travelers stumble upon deviant loners who plan to murder and mutilate their remains” scenario. Sure, there are the occasional real-life monsters among us, guys like Gacy and Dahmer and more recently, Ariel Castro, but oftentimes you never really get the sense that the crazies you see in a movie like Hostel are people you’d meet for real. But brothers Reg and Lindsay Morgan (Damon Herriman, Angus Sampson), purveyors of organic fertilizer derived from ground up blood and bone from animal carcasses found on the Aussie backroads, are just a couple of regular old blokes from down the way. We end up catching them on what’s going to be a turning point in their business, and personal lives, as it turns out.
The story opens with Reg, coming upon a dead car crash victim, and seizing on the opportunity to make use of his carcass for his blood and bone fertilizer business. As it turns out, there was a prior accident in which six people, dubbed the Salvo Six, also perished in a car crash nearby and whose bodies were never found. Meanwhile, the requisite trio of the unwary: friends James (Oliver Ackland) and Wesley (Jamie Kristian) and James’ girlfriend, Sophie (Anna McGahan), are broken down on the side of the road on the way to a music concert. James is secretly ready to pop the question, not knowing that Sophie, who has been having a lot of second thoughts about James, has been cheating on him with Wesley, who’s a hype and a wanker in every sense of the word. A chance encounter finds them hopping a ride with Reg, who’s taken with Sophie, to the detriment of his reasoning with having the two guys ride in the back of his truck with the dead body he found earlier.
Reg and Sophie have some time to chat and bond in the cab of the truck before the guys make the gruesome discovery. Reg has to make some snap decisions to try to contain the situation, and they end up on his ranch. That’s where we find Reg’s creepy and overbearing brother, Lindsay, who’s not happy with his brother’s showing initiative by bringing in three live specimens for the blood and bone grinder. Before, all they’ve ever done is use dead bodies, namely the aforementioned Salvo Six. So the brothers take the three hostage and from there, the story hashes out a few issues as Lindsay first takes the dead body and gives him the sausage treatment with his giant grinder.
The issues include Reg having to figure out whether or not he’s going to be Lindsay’s lackey forever, and whether or not he is going to let Sophie be ground up with the others. Meanwhile, James finally finds out about Sophie and Wesley, which leads of course to an awkward situation, almost as awkward as being prepared to be ground up for fertilizer. There’s an escape, an acid trip, a chase, a reckoning, an unfortunate run in with a motorcycle cop, ongoing angst over an ad for the blood and bone business, a dog running around with a severed hand, some highly disturbing cunnilingus and some surprising results.
If it sounds like a crazy romp, that’s because it is. If you’re into the quirky indie scene, you’re going to like this film. It brakes some rules and bends some genres. The Cairnes Bros. have put together a fun and gory little tale here that is well shot, well scripted and well acted all the way around. The standouts are Herriman as Reg and especially Sampson as Lindsay, an Amish-looking asshole with a slow burn temper who may not start out as a complete psycho, but ends up that way. And it’ll be very disappointing if, after Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts, Anne McGahan isn’t the next big Aussie export to Hollywood. If you want some blood and your girl wants some laughs (or vice versa, no judgments here), then you’ll both be satisfied with 100 Bloody Acres. It premieres in theatres and VOD on June 28.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars