DIRECTOR Cameron Cairnes; Colin Cairnes WRITER Cameron Cairnes; Colin Cairnes STARS Damon Herriman; Angus Sampson; Anna McGahan DVD 13 July
Brazenly sporting outback-horror archetypes whilst affectionately thumbing its nose at the subgenre from the beginning, Australian comedy-horror 100 Bloody Acres promises cheap laughs courtesy of a bubblegum plot: a pair of brothers use human roadkill to pep up their blood-and-bone fertiliser; a trio of hapless out-of-towners fall into their clutches.
Yet there is so much more on offer here than simplistic slapstick; 100 Bloody Acres is surprisingly witty. A smart script belies the Cairnes’ relative lack of experience — this is their feature debut — to deliver a thoughtfully layered story that, complemented by a slick edit, holds attention from the get-go, despite what on paper is a risky move: the raison d’être is not revealed until the second act. Instead, the script opts to establish a rapport between our star protagonist and antagonist, effectively smoothing the way for role-blurring later.
In fact, the film as a whole is deceptively reliant on dialogue; it is the aforementioned edit — Joshua Waddell, also making his feature debut — and the balance of concurrent subplots that create a clipping, yet absorbing pace. The result is a well-rounded story that squeezes in some complex character development, despite taking place over one afternoon. This is backed in no small part by excellent performances that play the comedy straight, Damon Herriman particularly earnest as Reg, the villain with a heart. Regardless of inexperience, 100 Bloody Acres is an excellent example of comedy-horror that gets the balance just right. That it comes so early in a filmmaking career is impressive.