Hello again Brothers and Sisters of the Psychotronic Video World, your old pal J.D. Malinger here with another screener for review, and wouldn’t you know it, just like FORESIGHT KILLER INSTINCT it’s an Aussie piece! I’ve really been falling in love with Australian cinema lately, readers, and I think I know why – Australian cinema is like an Antipodean mirror held up to American cinema. The two countries have quite a bit in common, and their respective cinemas reflect these similarities – but the reflection is skewed. This is a subject I’m likely to explore in quite a bit more detail in a future article here at the ol’ Blood Sprayer, but for now suffice to say I think “Mad” Max Rockatansky and Marshall Will Kane would find more in common then one might think at first.
Which brings me to 100 BLOODY ACRES.
100 BLOODY ACRES follows the Morgan brothers, Reg and Lindsay (Damon Herriman of JUSTIFIED and Angus Sampson of INSIDIOUS, respectively), who own a fertilizer company specializing in blood-and-bonemeal fertilizer. They’ve recently hit upon a “secret ingredient” that makes their fertilizer the best – human flesh. When Reg picks up a trio of hitchhikers, Lindsay is willing to commit murder to keep the family business going, but Reg has fallen head over heels for Sophie, one of the hitchhikers. Now Reg has to decide between family loyalty and the potential love of his life.
In 100 BLOODY ACRES, I see Australia’s answer to TUCKER AND DALE VS. EVIL. We get the same sort of “city folk vs. country folk” mentality and the same gallows humor of the city folk being, in a lot of ways, their own worst enemy. However, Reg and Lindsay are a far cry from Tucker and Dale.
Lindsay Morgan is a monster, no two ways about it, but he’s a monster in which some small spark of his original humanity still burns – he’s just buried that spark as deep as possible in order to perform the grisly work he needs to perform to keep the family business afloat. Change his name to Sawyer and he’d not be the slightest bit out of place in the original TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. Angus Sampson gave an absolute tour-de-force of a performance in the role, carrying scenes with little more than a wry smirk and a roll of the shoulder. He really blew me away – showing that a murderer doesn’t need a mask – just a beard-guard.
As for Reg Morgan, he’s every bit as much of a nuanced and fascinating character as his elder brother. While initially presented as a simple-minded country boy, over the course of the film he evolves and demonstrates both intellectual and emotional capacity that belies the hick stereotype he initially appears as.
The victims are no less detailed in their presentation. From Sophie’s casual attitude towards her sex life to “good boy” James’ bad side and “bad boy” Wes’ emotional depth, these are not the cardboard cutouts that a generation of American horror movies have prepared audiences on this side of the Pacific for.
I can’t help but see a parallel between Angus and Reg Morgan and Colin and Cameron Cairnes, the brothers who co-wrote and co-directed 100 BLOODY ACRES. In both cases we see a pair of brothers struggling to make a living in a tough industry, and pouring blood (sometimes literally), sweat and tears into seeing their work succeed. And while I can’t say anything about the efficacy of the Morgan Brothers’ fertilizer, but the Cairnes brothers have produced an astonishing piece of work here – an indie horror-comedy that can stand with a well-deserved self-assurance alongside the likes of TUCKER AND DALE VS. EVIL and I SELL THE DEAD. 100 BLOODY ACRES is now available on VOD stateside, so you have no excuse not to see it.