June 28, 2013 (VOD)
Cameron Cairnes, Colin Cairnes
Cameron Cairnes, Colin Cairnes
Damon Herriman as Reg Morgan
Angus Sampson as Lindsay Morgan
Anna McGahan as Sophie
Oliver Ackland as James
Jamie Kristian as Wesley
John Jarratt as Burke
It isn’t easy creating a film that balances humor, sadism and class. It’s almost like tossing a dog, a cat and a mouse in a burlap sack and expecting all to go well. But directors Cameron and Colin Cairnes manage to make the improbable a reality. It’s perfect harmony in that bag.
100 Bloody Acres is at times overtly vicious, but it keeps a strong line of black humor coasting throughout the script which enables the film to function on a level far elevated from offensive. It’s quite charming in sequences, illuminating some excellent personalities while having a blast with some terribly bad luck. At points, you almost feel bad for our antagonists, because… well, they’re not entirely bad guys. They just so happened to step in the steaming pile of number two, and now they’ve got to get even dirtier before the mess can be properly cleaned.
The story sees two brothers – Reg and Lindsay Morgan – stumble upon a dead body. Typically, that would be a bad thing, but these two run a special fertilizer business. They grind up the carcasses of animals and whip up a special blend that’s sure to see crops sprout. Seeing a prime opportunity, Reg loads the body in his truck and it’s off to their plant. Until that is, he crosses paths with a group of partying youngsters whose car has broken down while traveling to a concert. Reg is a bit smitten by Sophie, the lone lady of the bunch, so he reluctantly offers the trio a ride. And, that’s about where things get hairy. You can’t stuff a couple of guys in the back of a truck that already houses a corpse and expect a smooth journey. Not happening, Reg… not happening.
There’s actually quite a bit more to this story, including some back-plotting that holds major relevance to the Morgan brothers’ current predicament. But we’re not going to paint the entire picture here. This one is definitely best seen and not read.
In regards to onscreen performances, there aren’t many marks missed here. Reg is a terrific character, and actor Damon Herriman has a complete blast with his quirky personality. Angus Sampson is genius as the menacing brother, and Anna McGahan is perfectly sultry… when she’s not selling terrified with conviction. Even our supporting performers Oliver Ackland and Jamie Kristian handle their obnoxious roles with refinement. If there’s any complaint to be made of the ensemble, it’s the simple fact that the always awesome John Jarrett is severely underused. The man always deserves big screen time, and he just isn’t afforded that luxury in this case.
The special effects are fantastic, delivering heavy doses of solid practical work and buckets of the sticky stuff. The editing is on point from beginning to end and the film’s pacing couldn’t be much smoother. This one moves with fluidity, entangling viewers in one extremely hectic day. But the true charm of the production comes in the fact that the Cairnes’ know to respect their audience. They’re calculated in all maneuvers. There’re few things worse than a movie that tries too hard.100 Bloody Acres allows the story to unfold, it doesn’t force it. The punchlines aren’t too pronounced, they just roll on by, allowing the viewer to determine what’s funny without shoving it in our faces. The same can be said of the character development and action sequences.
There’s a top notch subtlety to this film that really surprises. For as outlandish as the concept behind the picture may be, 100 Bloody Acres feels like a very natural production. Quality technical abilities (I really loved the special effects and camera angles) render this one organically pleasing, and really, really memorable. It’s another homerun for the foreign filmmakers, as 100 Bloody Acres is one of the strongest genre pieces to hit the market in 2013.
One day American filmmakers will take some notes… and risk a little originality.