Sunday, October 07, 2012

Famine Finds No Shortage of Boobs and Blood: A Movie Review

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*here be spoilers.

Director: Ryan Nicholson.

Writers: Ryan Nicholson, Taylor Nicholson and Jeff O'Brien.

Cast: Beth Cantor, Christopher Patrick Donoghue, Nathan Durec, Dustin Elkins, Karyn Halpin, Glenn Hoffmann, Des Larson, Christopher Lomas, Gustavo MacSerna, Thabi Maphoso, and Ady Mejia.

Ryan Nicholson is a Vancouver based director who took the ferry trip over to Victoria for Dedfest '12. Nicholson is best known to this film fan for his sexploitation flick Gutterballs, which featured a brutal rape scene. This cinephile also tried to watch Hanger, but the film's subject matter was too grotesque. Have you ever scene an abortion performed with a hanger? That film was never finished. Now, Nicholson returns with another gorefest titled Famine. This is essentially a slasher flick taking place in a locked down high school. Few students make it out of this picture without a scalping, a knifing, an acid bath and many other shocking deaths.

The story is fairly straight forward. Several students agree to participate in a 24 Hour Famine to gain extra credits. The famine is set up to raise money for a charity that this film fan never understood. Those participating are confined to the gymnasium. Characters that venture out into the darkened hallways are soon decapitated or sent through the dishwasher in a blistering fashion.

One of the characters in the gymnasium is seeking bloody revenge. Something happened at a previous charity event that left someone with brutal burns. That character or someone close to that character is now seeking revenge for their maltreatment. Thus, a lot of bloodshed ensues.

Nicholson is at his best when filming the bloody special effects. Thankfully, there is no CGI here, but there is a lot of bloodspray. A slash across the throat is over-the-top. And, it looks like fellow 28DLA writer Ed Sum makes a cameo appearance as Peterson (Leo Wong), an Asian foodie. Peterson soon finds a chisel to the noggin after sexually assaulting his chocolate bar. Later, the principal of the school has his eyes cut out. Others find equally gruesome deaths. The gore is truly pushed to the limits.

There are other exploitation elements here. Famine feels oversexualized, overall. All of the characters are equipped with big libidos and few smarts. There is a brutal cumshot that occurs in the mid-point of the film that is reminiscent of There's Something About Mary. There are sex scenes and nudity. Most of the female characters are in skimpy attire and a few characters find themselves in strange sexual places. A creepy and scarred janitor lusts over Jenny, a girl with a severe cause of Asperger's Syndrome. Another girl is ready to get it on with the school's mascot even though she does not know who is in the suit. There is a strong sexual tone to many of Nicholson's films and that tone is similarly found here too.

Nicholson was in attendance at Dedfest '12 and he talked about the sexuality in his film. Apparently, he wanted there to be more nudity in this title, but some of the actresses were unwilling. Nicholson has also toned down sexuality and gore in his films, in general, in order to receive wider distribution. Nicholson's insightful Q & A was the highlight of the film festival.

And, gorehounds are encouraged to seek out Famine wherever they can find it. This is a short slasher film with an attractive cast. Many of the film's scenes are comedic and the deaths are truly blood-soaked. Fans who have seen Nicholson's films will know what to expect in this latest title and those unfamiliar are in for a shock. Famine is an enjoyable picture with a few gorgeous kills and a few titillating shots to keep the viewing exciting.

Overall: 6.75 out of 10 (the story is pretty straight forward, character Jenny is overly strange, most characters are carricatures, fun film).

Horror fans can order Famine and other Plotdigger films here:

Famine at

Have a look ahead to Dedfest in Edmonton, Alberta and their film lineup:

Dedfest Edmonton

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