100 Bloody Acres film review

Australia horror/comedy 100 Bloody Acres comes to the Film 4 Fright Fest 23 August 2013

With some exceptions, a good deal of the horror we see coming out of Australia are torture films and monster movies, so it’s a pleasant surprise to see murder, mayhem and manure combined to such entertaining effect in this genial horror comedy.

Reg Morgan (Damon Herriman) and his domineering brother Lindsay (Angus Sampson) make their Morgan Brothers Blood And Bone fertiliser using roadkill, with the occasional human corpse for good measure. But when Reg takes it into his head to kidnap three young hitchhikers, the brothers realise that living human flesh takes the mixture to the next level. Can they really go through with it?

Despite the fact that people do get tied to chairs and dangled over meat grinders, 100 Bloody Acres has no interest in lingering on scenes of torture or even particularly gruesome gore. Instead, the Cairnes brothers obviously want their audience to have a good time. It’s funny, the slapstick gore is well handled, the characters are well-written, and there’s a good-natured atmosphere that retains our goodwill during the more predictable and peurile moments.

Fans of Justified will recognise Herriman as gormless jailbird Dewey Crowe and he’s playing a similar character here. Reg isn’t necessarily an evil man, he’s just trying to impress his brother.

Of course, this means kidnapping and probably murder, but Herriman walks the character along the fine line of sympathetic and credibly threatening very well, while Sampson (Leigh Whannell’s ghost-hunting partner in Insidious) provides a suitably imposing presence as Lindsay.

Turning to the hitchhiking youngsters, it’s nice to see a horror film with a heroine that hasn’t been cut from cardboard.

Sophie (Anna McGahan) is cheating on her boyfriend James (Oliver Ackland) with their brash friend Wesley (Jamie Kristian) but the film doesn’t judge her for it; the brainless characters do when they should be focusing on escaping. This slight change from the norm is typical of the film as a whole as a pleasant surprise.

While it’s not the most original horror comedy out there, and it has a few wobbles around the halfway mark, 100 Bloody Acres is really good fun.