Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Laughing Across 100 Bloody Acres: A Movie Review

Directors/writers: Cameron and Colin Cairnes.

Cast: Damon Herriman, Angus Sampson, Anna McGahan, Oliver Ackland, and Jamie Kristian.

100 Bloody Acres is an Aussie shot gorefest from brothers Cameron and Colin Cairnes. Their first feature naturally follows two brothers: Reg (Damon Herriman) and Lindsay Morgan (Angus Sampson). These two characters must hack and slash their way through unwary travellers and unfortunate roadkill, to make the best fertilizer around Adelaide. Their exploits often go wrong and much of the comedy in this title comes from the Morgan brother's lack of focus. The spray of blood and bone is just a result of their mishaps.

The story, if looked at from a distance, follows many cliches found in horror. A few young friends cross the wrong people in an isolated locale. But, the characters make this film more enjoyable. The protagonist, Reg, begins as a villain, but he transitions into an unlikely hero through the film's shorty ninety minutes. In the meantime, Reg must face his domineering brother. Lindsay, and a young woman, who has slept her way through much of the male cast. The end result is a stretch; however, 100 Bloody Acres is a fun film, mostly due to its lighthearted tone.

That light tone is created through its comedy. That comedy is often dark in nature. Reg talks of his newly kidnapped friends as "freshies." This term signifies that the abductees will go through a meat-grinder while conscious. As well, a dog is seen running through Act III with a human hand in its mouth, while another character performs cunnilingus on a dangerously, old woman. These scenes will create for a chuckle. Yet, the best scene comes near the middle of the film. The character Wesley (Jamie Kristian) has chosen the wrong time to drop LSD. Somehow, Wesley manages to escape the clutches of the two brothers and he then finds himself in Fairyland, a local tourist trap. Wesley is enjoying his hallucinogenic trip and the many Mad Hatter characters, despite being chased by a cold-blooded killer. The directors amplify the humour of these scenes with an unorthodox shooting style. Some of the scenes are shot upside down and this perspective helps show, convincingly, Wesley's unstable mind state. These comedic scenes are the best in the picture.

There are scenes of horror here, too. Many of the early bits in the film host several scenes of gore and slaughter. A crash victim is smuggled into the back of a van, for later processing. This character is treated poorly and covered in blood. Later, the meat-grinder gets put to use and gore soaks the camera. There are several scenes of murder, torture, and other dastardly occurrences. But, the horror is never forced and the aforementioned comedy breaks up some of the more difficult scenes. The focus here is not on the blood, but on the characters and Reg's timid ascendancy.

100 Bloody Acres is a well shot and fun filled time. The picture makes light of its characters and their foibles. And, this title has an endearing quality to it, which adds charm to John Brawley's amazing cinematography. Also, Cameron and Colin keep the visual sphere interesting, by offering some convincing and peculiar shooting styles. The acting is well done and all of the characters, except one accident victim, are developed over the course of the film. The writing is light on plot, but the comedy and darker moments help round out the film.

This title will release through video-on-demand formats shortly in North America. 100 Bloody Acres is one of only a few films that manages to blend comedy and horror in a convincing fashion. Though, many of the jokes are only mildly funny. The characters in the film are well balanced and 100 Bloody Acres will enchant many viewers and surprise, still, a few more.

Overall: 7.25 out of 10 (characters have dimensions and backstories and conflict, the villains are incompetent and humourous).

The film's fan page can be found here:

100 Bloody Acres on Facebook

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