“100 Bloody Acres” (Australia, 2012)
Directed by Colin Cairnes & Cameron Cairnes
Written by Colin Cairnes & Cameron Cairnes
Starring: Damon Herriman, Angus Sampson, Anna McGahan, Oliver Ackland, Jamie Kristian
Horror-comedy is a concept I was never able to fully grasp, there is something quite not right with this association of genres in my mind. Perfectly aware of the grey area of things and with a known preference for boundaries being disrespected in other areas I strangely found myself unable to overcome a preconceived idea about this mash up of genres. However, since preconceived ideas are as bad as restricting creativeness to certain limits I promised myself to take the first opportunity to put some proper support behind my reluctance towards the concept or to finally question my opinion. The first chance, the debut feature film of brothers Cairnes, Cameron and Colin, “100 Bloody Acres”.
Three youngsters on their way to a music festival end up stranded on a back road when their car breaks down. Soon they are picked up by Reg Morgan driving a delivery truck on the route. Reg and his brother Lindsay are running an organic fertilizer business, commerce that became thriving when they discovered and used a new, secret ingredient, roadkill and car-crash victims. Through a comedy of errors the three youngsters, Sophie, James and Wesley, find themselves on the Morgan brothers’ farm fighting to escape the meat grinder.
“100 Bloody Acres” starts in playful tone and keeps the initial line throughout the entire story. In fact, the comedy part has precedence over the horror elements, but both are very well assembled and their combination is for the best effect. Body and road horror and situation and error comedy are mixed in a concoction for the entire satisfaction and joy of the viewer. Add to the blend some corny country music and the result is even better. The isolation of the setting, enhanced by the sense of small community inflicted by the interaction between the Morgan brothers and the side characters, the gory aspects and the body parts flying around send a feeling of uneasiness for the viewer, but without leaving an unpleasant aftertaste after them. And all the while the humor kicks only in the right places, the lines do not feel even once forced and “100 Bloody Acres” doesn’t leave the impression of chasing desperately for laughs, all the cogwheels of the mixed elements being set into perfect motion with great ability by Cameron and Colin Cairnes.
The entire assembly is supported by authentic characters, distinguishable personalities that feel real and full of vitality. Reg Morgan (Damon Herriman) is a subdued character, under the shadow of his brother, the ferocious looking and gruff Lindsay (Angus Sampson). The relationship between the brothers is one of movie’s dynamics, the connection between the two shifts and changes and the balance of power is put to doubt. Sophie (Anna McGahan), James (Oliver Ackland) and Wesley (Jamie Kristian) are caught in a love triangle and this situation comes into open and is confronted in the most awkward instance, one that also creates the most hilarious circumstances. These three characters suffer changes from the initial starting point as well, all of their demeanor is affected by the events surrounding them. There is nothing standard in their development.
I cannot recall a recent time when I had so much fun with a comedy. All right, “100 Bloody Acres” didn’t make me clutch my stomach because of too much laughter and it is a movie a little gory and bizarre, but it is a movie executed very well and it grew in my heart with each frame. I am convinced that every viewer willing to give “100 Bloody Acres” a chance would find a reward within the brothers Cairnes’ movie. But don’t take my word for it, because after all, “that’s a Morgan Brothers guarantee”.