100 BLOODY ACRES
The use of car crash victims' corpses in the Morgan Brothers' "Blood and Bone" fertiliser business has been a huge boon to their revenues. But it's been months since their last find and an important new customer is waiting on a delivery. When Reg Morgan (Damon Herriman), the junior partner in the business, comes across three young people stranded on a remote country road, he sees a radical solution to their supply problems, and a way of finally gaining the respect of his bossy big brother, Lindsay (Angus Sampson). But things don't quite go to plan when Reg starts to fall for Sophie (Anna McGahan).
Review by Louise Keller:
The elements are potentially there for a bloody good time, if gore and black comedy is your thing, yet the debut feature for Colin and Cameron Caines falls flat. Having said that, there are many good things about the film including performances and a great sense of place, set in remote Australian bushland, beautifully shot by cinematographer John Brawley. There's a tongue in cheek music score, too and the use of 70s songs including Slim Dusty, John Williamson and Chad Morgan paint the narrative with a laid-back fair dinkum bent. But the story lacks overall conviction most of the time and even the scenes whose quirky juxtaposition shows promise, never quite deliver.
When we meet Reg (Damon Herriman) singing along to 70s songs as he drives through idyllic country setting, the signpost to the direction in which we are travelling is quickly erected. The first stop is a white comby-van splattered with blood; the unfortunate driver becomes company to the roadkill and fertilizer jammed in the back of the truck. There is more to come by way of tasers, gunshots, knives and a meat grinder, reminiscent of the wood chipper in Fargo whose use was sinister.
There are dismembered digits, hands and other parts too, often gathered by a cute little dog. With Reg and his head of command brother Lindsay (an evil, bearded Angus Sampson) intent on upgrading their blood and bone fertilizer to get marketshare by using fresh blood, they defensively declare they are not psychos, but small business operators. They're a rum pair: Reg looks like a half-wit, while Lindsay looks as though he has escaped from an Amish looney bin.
The catalysts for action are three young hitchhikers en route for a music festival: two brothers and a girl. The fact that former country girl turned city slicker Sophie (Anna McGahan) has a sexual relationship with both Wes (Jamie Kristian) and James (Oliver Ackland) is one of the key plot points. This is milked to excess: the idea that Sophie blurts out all the pent up resentments to James, when he is gagged and strung up by his feet above a blood-filled vat is rather funny in a black way, but it is overdone. The tension is overridden by a farcical tone at times and so much is overdone that it is easy to switch off, feeling as though the party - and the joke - is over.
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100 BLOODY ACRES (MA15+)
CAST: Angus Sampson, Damon Herriman, Anna McGahan, Oliver Ackland, John Jarratt, Jamie Kristian, Chrissie Page, Paul Blackwell
PRODUCER: Julie Ryan & Kate Croser
DIRECTOR: Colin and Cameron Cairnes
SCRIPT: Colin and Cameron Cairnes
CINEMATOGRAPHER: John Brawley
EDITOR: Joshua Waddell
MUSIC: Glenn Richards
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Tony Cronin
RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Hopscotch eOne
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 1, 2013