MRR Review: "100 Bloody Acres"

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Reg and Lindsay run an organic fertiliser business. They need a fresh supply of their "secret ingredient" to process through the meat grinder. Reg comes across two guys and a girl with a broken-down vehicle on their way to a music festival.
3.5

MRR Review: "100 Bloody Acres"

-- Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Length: 91 minutes
Release Date: June 28, 2013
Directed by: Cameron Cairnes, Colin Cairnes
Genre: Comedy/Horror

In "100 Bloody Acres," brothers Reg (Damon Herriman) and Lindsay (Angus Sampson) are the owners of an organic fertilizer company that wasn't making much money until they changed the fertilizer formula. They found out that human blood and bone, as opposed to those of animals, make the fertilizer better. When the first batch of fertilizer with these "organic" elements in it is sold, the customers are so impressed that they increase their orders, and the brothers start making some big money.

The problem is that it is hard to sustain a business practice that involves dead humans. Lindsay bullies Reg into collecting the dead bodies of car accident victims in the area for the fertilizer. One day on a roundup of bodies, he encounters the beautiful Sophie (Anna McGahan) and her boyfriend James (Oliver Ackland), who doesn't realize that Sophie is cheating on him with his best friend Wesley (Jamie Kristian). The three friends are on their way to a concert when their car stops, necessitating a ride from Reg. Once they get back to the fertilizer plant, Reg begins talking with Sophie and instantly starts to like her, turning a love triangle into a love square of sorts.

Meanwhile, the suspicious Lindsay realizes that dead accident victims won't be able to sustain their blood and bone needs for much longer. He is ready to take the next step, which would be to start murdering people in order to turn them into fertilizer. While Lindsay appears to have no morals or hang-ups about murder, poor Reg wants no part of it. He realizes that if he steps over that line on a regular basis, at some point he will never be able to go back. When Lindsay hints that the trio of would-be concertgoers could be the next ones to get inputs into the fertilizer mixture, Reg really balks. The last thing he wants to do is kill his love interest Sophie. What is a good man doing bad things to do, especially when family and the family business are involved?

The casting of a bad or semi-bad person in the role of the hero is becoming increasingly common in the entertainment industry. Just look at shows like "Dexter" or the Jules and Miles characters in "Pulp Fiction." These guys do very bad things, including cold-blooded murder, yet the audience is meant to root for them, sometimes more so than the good guy. Most of these characters are in very dramatic films, but "100 Bloody Acres" bucks that trend in order to make a guy doing bad things in a comedy. Reg may be helping his brother cut up dead bodies into pieces to use for fertilizer, but he is being bullied into doing so. It helps that he only collects bodies that are already dead for this nefarious purpose, but it is still undoubtedly the wrong thing to do. Yet, viewers will cheer for him anyways and hope that he has a happy ending.

Part of the credit for the brilliant characterization of Reg goes to Cameron and Collin Cairns, two brothers who are making their feature film debut as both writers and directors. They have written a fascinating and mostly relatable character in the put-upon Reg, who gives the film heart. However, the lion's share of the credit goes to Herriman, who makes Reg downright loveable, even though he is scooping up fingers that have just fallen off a corpse. He is particularly delightful in his scenes with McGahan, who also shines on the screen as Sophie. Herriman has made a name for himself in supporting roles both in Australia and the U.S., but McGahan isn't known outside of Australia. That may change if the range and screen presence she shows in "100 Bloody Acres" have any indication of her talent.

"100 Bloody Acres" is reminiscent of another horror-comedy hybrid movie, "Tucker and Dale vs. Evil." Both are small-budget films that take two unlikely genres and meld them together seamlessly, as if they should have been that way the entire time. Both have moments of true comic genius, some of which is based on misunderstanding. Both have only seen a very limited release in a small number of theaters, which is a crying shame. "100 Bloody Acres" deserves to have big exposure, because it is a great summer film and a welcome alternative for those who either have already seen the big-budget blockbusters or just want something different. For those fortunate enough to see the film, it will leave them completely satisfied and possibly a bit wary next time they see an "organic" label on anything.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5