Monday, 22 June 2015



Many years ago, Paul Darrow described in an interview how he'd received a Blake's Seven script from a young fan: it consisted on Blake and Avon teleporting down to an alien planet whereupon Blake looked around and said "I don't like the look of this place" and Avon replied "Neither do I; let's go back." The End. I mention this because Charlie's Farm, a gleefully nasty Australian slasher movie, is a prime example of a film in which people will insist on venturing into horrible and clearly dangerous places for absolutely no reason at all, in the manner of all those travellers who ignore the innkeeper's warnings not to go up Castle Dracula at this time of night, or the young dunderheads who laugh at Crazy Ralph's prophecies of doom in Friday The 13th. No-one ever, ever decides that maybe these guys know what they're talking about and decide to go somewhere else instead.

The foursome at the heart of Charlie's Farm have every opportunity to reconsider their irrational urge to visit one of Australia's most notorious murder sites where a couple of homicidal cannibal farmers were eventually killed back in the 1980s - but of course they don't. They know the urban/rural legend that the malformed son was never found and is said to still roam the area thirty years later, picking off backpackers and ghouls for whom the derelict farm has become a place of pilgrimage... To be honest, the two male leads in particular (Sam Coward, Dean Kirkright) would hardly be more sympathetic characters if they just stayed home drinking beer and talking trash the whole time; it's much easier to feel for their unfeasibly glamorous partners (Tara Reid, Allira Jaques) duped into their badly conceived road trip.

So the main trouble with Chris Sun's film is that it's hard to rack up much support for its array of victims, who boneheadedly ignore all the sane and rational advice to stay away from the spooky old house of death and then act surprised when they get bloodily murdered by a hulking maniac (Nathan Jones). However, the film's real strength is the cheerfully graphic kill scenes which have a nice old fashioned feel to them: the feel of prosthetics and latex rather than the cold digital sheen of CGI. In addition, it nods to slashers of decades past by casting Kane Hodder (from four Friday The 13th films and all three Hatchets, amongst numerous other credits) and Bill Moseley (from two Texas Chainsaw movies and, again, a ton of other genre cinema).

If, in the end, Charlie's Farm is not much more than a simple low-budget B-movie in which absolute idiots get violently offed (I don't doubt that the film would easily make the video nasties list, if such a thing still existed, given the uncomfortable sexual element to the mayhem in one sequence), it is still good, well enough mounted fun that delivers the goods and more than entertains as a cheerfully bloody Friday night rental. Sure, it doesn't have much in the way of depth or subtext, but it doesn't want to and it doesn't need to. I rather enjoyed it.


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