Damon Herriman as Reg and Angus Sampson as Lindsay. Click on the 'Play' button above to watch the trailer for 100 Bloody Acres.
July 29, 2013
(Republished December 9, 2013)
It's not been a banner year for Aussie films, a sentiment I convey with absolutely zero relish. My end-of-year Top 10 Australian Features list is dangerously close to being canned on account of poor attendance, lest I relent and declare Goddess to be "not that bad, all things considered." Mercifully, the Cairnes brothers' wicked little splatter-flick 100 Bloody Acres saves me from that fate, even if the characters in it are not shown nearly as much mercy.
Reg (Damon Herriman) and Lindsay (Angus Sampson) Morgan run a fledgling fertiliser company in the South Australian outback; the recent addition of human road-kill to their recipe seeing their orders increase exponentially. After the nervy but ultimately kind-hearted Reg picks up a trio of city-slickin' hitchhikers, their crimes threaten to escalate from mere corpse-tampering to full-on murder. Reg would like very much to spare them, of course; particularly the affable former country-girl Sophie (Anna McGahan). However, when her doting boyfriend James (Oliver Ackland) and the jerk she's seeing on the side, Wes (Jamie Kristian), happen upon a dead body in the back of the Morgan Brothers' truck, Lindsay insists they meet their mulcher.
Fraternal writer-directors Colin and Cameron Cairnes don't limit the action to a single location, but the inspiration of such 'bottle' movies is evident (they cite Rope as an inspiration). Sophie spends much of the movie tied up in the Morgans' shed, attempting to argue and flirt her way out of captivity, going so far as to play Reg against Lindsay. The Cairnes smartly divert from other genre exercises of this ilk by having Reg and Sophie form a real camaraderie early on, before all the unpleasantness, and by not introducing Lindsay until well into the second act, establishing him as a villain even more detestable than the pleasant-by-comparison Reg. Even our preconceived notions of James and Wes are challenged, as is the cuckolding of James by Sophie. This is smart scripting. Usually, these kinds of flicks cut straight to the bone-crunching.
The Cairnes, with great wit and fleet-footed direction, keep us guessing. 100 Bloody Acres is a highly amusing little horror movie, elevated by uncommonly layered performances (particularly from Herriman and McGahan), not to mention the voluminous amount of fake blood spewed, limbs torn apart, oddball sex scenes, and one particularly nutty drug trip. I wouldn't necessarily describe any of that as 'witty,' per se. Funny? Sure.
Check out Simon Miraudo's other reviews here.
100 Bloody Acres will be available on Quickflix from December 11, 2013.