It’s an age-old tale. A gaggle of young, attractive urbanites take a road trip through a desolate countryside and along the way meet some backwoods locals with interesting hobbies and then events transpire which lead to the deaths of most of those involved.

This one takes place in the Australian outback.

However “100 Bloody Acres” is so much more than its generic setup. It is a sharp, cleverly written splatter-comedy in the vein of “Dale and Tucker vs. Evil,” but bloodier.

The story wastes no time getting to some gore. Reg Morgan (Damon Herriman), half of the Morgan Brothers blood-and-bone fertilizer company, comes across the wreckage of a traffic accident. Reg hauls the dashboard-mangled body into the back of his truck, already filled with kangaroo road kill (this is Australia after all), and delivers the first severed limb gag of the movie.

After this brief opening segment, I knew I was in for a great ride. The camera didn’t shy away from carnage, and the comedy ranged from pitch-perfect black humor to silly slapstick.

Next the movie introduces Sophie (Anna McGahan), her boyfriend, James (Oliver Ackland) and their friend, Wes (Jamie Kristian). Sophie and Wes are having an affair and the unsuspecting James is thinking of proposing. Unfortunately for James, things are only going to get worse when they cross paths with a couple entrepreneurial brothers in the blood-and-bone business running low on their “special ingredient.”

As young travelers are wont, they stop mid-journey in the creepiest place they can find – usually a deserted gas station with dip-chewing yokels, or a kitschy roadside attraction with a seedy past – or, as in this case, a gravesite featuring a tribute to some locals whose bodies were “mysteriously” never recovered after a tragic accident.

Leaving the graveyard, their car breaks down and they catch a ride with the younger Morgan brother. Because who doesn’t want a ride from the twitchy, nervous stranger who almost certainly smells like hot death?

Reg chooses the attractive Sophie to ride up front with him, and packs the guys in the back with the concealed corpse. Sophie and Reg bond over Aussie oldie songs on the radio and a shared country background. In the back, Wes takes some acid and it doesn’t take long before they find the poorly hidden body of the motorist.

Things escalate quickly from here. Reg drives back to his farm, where he and his brother produce their extra special fertilizer, and we meet the hulking, sinister Morgan brother, Lindsay (Angus Sampson, who you may recognize from the “Insidious” movies). Lindsay, whose homicidal tendencies probably come from his parents choosing the name “Lindsay,” quickly establishes himself as the brother in charge.

They decide that instead of just using bodies they’ve lucked into on the side of the road, it’s time to start shoring up their supply of human-based fertilizer with some fresher victims.

Losing no time, they dangle the driver upside down into the meat grinder. At the last moment Reg realizes the man is still alive and tries to save him, succeeding in rescuing his legs. Well, it’s the thought that counts.

Meanwhile Wes, the acid he took just starting to kick in, manages to free himself with a knife he had stowed in his pocket. He takes off and Lindsay chases after him.

Sophie takes the opportunity to try seducing the clearly infatuated Reg. The plan backfires and Reg storms off, but not before cluing James in that Sophie’s been sleeping with Wes. James, bound, chained, and next in line to be turned into pulpy red soup, decides that now is definitely the time to talk about their relationship issues.

Elsewhere, during a short, entertaining sequence, Wes makes it to a nearby abandoned theme park before the drugs distract him and Lindsay catches up, knocking him out and throwing him in the trunk of his car. By the time they return, Reg has had a change of heart about the whole murder thing and switches allegiances, trying to help the people he originally brought home to kill.

A lot of the fun of the movie is in experiencing the ways it plays into and pushes against fan expectations, so I won’t reveal everything that happens next. It’s not nearly to the level of “Cabin in the Woods” in terms of genre satire, or for crazy twists ahead –

Don’t expect it suddenly turn supernatural or have the army show up and fireball the place, in fact expect it to not stray too far from the usual body-count-rises third act that we all know and love– but fans of Joss Whedon’s horror-comedy masterpiece will find plenty to like here.

“100 Bloody Acres” is the type of film that at first glance is reminiscent of a lot of other movies, which some will dismiss as the same old, same old without bothering to peel off the layers and find the gem underneath. It takes its horror cues from well-worn tropes. Yes, there are meat grinders, hacked off limbs and gratuitous blood-sprays – so far so good, right?

Where the movie really shines is in building likable, if a bit off, characters – a relative rarity in a horror movie, and giving them smart, funny dialogue. This is a movie that warrants multiple viewings to catch subtle sight and word jokes that may have been missed the first time through.

Sophie is not the typical survivor girl, either. She’s tough, independent, and sexual without being trashy. Sorry, these are ninety-one boobs-free minutes. The run time is not without sex acts though, but unless your fetishes check some pretty niche boxes, it’s nothing sexy.

And by the end, Reg seems like more of the good-guy-to-go-grab-a-drink-with type then a creepy, probably-going-to-go-on-an-axe-murder-spree type he initially appears. Otherwise known as the American Psycho in reverse.

Although the humor gets pretty screwball in moments, it also delivers some effective horror. There are buckets and buckets of blood. And even with his ridiculous Amish-style beard, Lindsay is imposing as a villain.

Produced on a small budget, the movie still manages to look very good. Blood makeup and special effects by Wicked of Oz Studios are well done. The sets aren’t overly elaborate; most of the movie takes place on the Morgan Brothers’ farm, along with a handful of other locations.

Some of the humor is lost in translation if you’re not up on Aussie cultural references, but its occurrences are minimal and it’s a small distraction. There is no shortage of other opportunities to laugh.

Although, word to the wise, stick around after (or fast-forward) the credits. There’s an additional scene with a great riff on “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”

This is the debut film by sibling writer-directors Colin and Cameron Cairnes. Let’s hope “100 Bloody Acres” isn’t based on any real life brotherly experiences. But if their first effort is any indication of future films, well then, I wish these brothers a long and prolific career.

roadside attractions

  • Vaguely incestuous and cannibalistic locals with some vegetables to grow Down Under
  • Armed and nippy terriers
  • Very bad acid trips
  • Well-worn meat grinders
totals

9

blood

BLOOD

It’s all over the place by the end.

3

blood

BREASTS

One pretty girl stays fully clothed.

7

beast

BEASTS

The movie leans more heavily on laughs than screams, but there is some legitimate tension.

8.5 OVERALL
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Watch the trailer for 100 Bloody Acres”

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