Saturday, September 19, 2015

Movie Review: 100 Bloody Acres (2012)

You'd think I would have learned by now not to completely underestimate some of these random movies that I find through Netflix. They go in the queue, and they sit there for months before I give them a chance because I've never heard anything about them. Then I finally watch them, and sometimes they are totally amazing! Case in point is this Australian horror comedy, 100 Bloody Acres, which was written and directed by Colin and Cameron Cairnes.

Reg and Lindsay are the Morgan Brothers, who run a small organic fertilizer business in South Australia. They've found out that using humans in their fertilizer makes for a better quality product, which means bad news for the three stranded motorists that Reg happens upon while trying to make a delivery to their most important customer.

It seems like you can usually tell in the first 10 or 15 minutes of a movie like this, and 100 Bloody Acres has a great hook right in the first scene. Reg pulls over when he sees a crashed van by the side of the road and - because the audience already knows what he is up to from the description of the film - decides to throw the dead driver into the back of his box truck. A great hook moment in this scene is when Reg gives up on trying to drag the body all the way to his truck and instead hops in and backs it up closer to the body. It's something small, but it let me know that this was going to be a very smart comedy, and the kind that I particularly enjoy watching.

These first few scenes also set up a great dynamic between our three travelers who are on their way to a music festival - Sophie, Wes, and James. Sophie and Wes are first seen making out while James is off trying to fix the car, but when they're all together again, it's clear that Sophie and James are the real couple and Wes is the man on the side. James is also secretly planning on proposing to Sophie. This little love triangle is not necessarily that important to the plot, but later on it does provide us with some of those great this-is-not-the-time-to-be-talking-about-this moments between the characters.

All three of these guys are very likable, despite the minor flaws in their morals. James is the sweet, puppy-dog boyfriend, who is countered by the arguably hotter and cooler Wes. Wes seems like he's supposed to be the cocky asshole but he is in fact incredibly likable just because of how funny he is, especially when on acid. Sophie is a great female character that I always like to see because she is not the traditionally super-sexy or hot horror girl. Again, despite the fact that she is cheating on her sweet boyfriend, she has a great personality, and seems genuinely nice when making conversation with Reg in the truck. She also handles herself well as the movie gets even more crazy, while the boys make silly - and funny - little mistakes.

Reg is both like the hero and the villain, and the one that audiences will probably end up loving the most. He's a cute small town farm boy with a heart of gold, looking for acceptance from his domineering older brother with anger issues. The brother dynamic is also interesting to watch and it kind of makes me curious to learn more, seeing as how the film was written and directed by a pair of brothers. Reg is brilliantly played by Damon Harriman. His acting and the writing make you accept both sides of the character - where he is definitely complicit in the crimes with Lindsay (yet you still love him while he's doing it), but you really see the moral journey that he takes. Angus Sampson as Lindsay, who genre fans will recognize as Tucker from the Insidious films, is the perfect kind of quiet-crazy because you really have no idea what he is going to do in any situation.

And really, the whole movie is like that. There are a lot of things that happen in the plot that are just completely out of nowhere and unexpected, and while some of these elements drag the story down a little bit, it's still a joy to watch and be surprised and entertained at every turn. There's a whole thing with the brothers' Auntie Nance that I can't get into because you just have to see it for yourself, plus a weird little bit of side action when Lindsay is chasing a hopped-up-on-acid Wes through a small, closed-down roadside attraction. Right after this, there's a scene that didn't really need to be included but is still great to watch because it involves a small appearance by John Jarratt.

If it's buckets of blood that you want, then 100 Bloody Acres has that as well. I mean, you'd be disappointed if it didn't, based on the title, right? Not every frame is drenched in blood, but there are plenty of individual gags that are just the right amount of graphic and awesome, while providing situational comedy at the same time. There are great moments that include a huge barrel of blood and gore, and of course the grinding machine that the brothers use to make their blood and bone fertilizer.

100 Bloody Acres is definitely my kind of film. It perfectly brings together the kind of smart, subtle humor that I find the most appealing, with the kind of crazy bloody gags that appease the true gorehound in me. There is a Tucker and Dale vs. Evil element to the Morgan brothers' relationship and to the story overall, so if you dug that movie, you'll probably dig 100 Bloody Acres as well. Don't let this little gem of a film pass you by!

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