Mixing horror with any kind of comedy can be pretty tough to pull off, unless it’s dark comedy. Even then I get the feeling many people miss the fact that it’s okay to laugh at messed-up scenes in a dark comedy, somehow feeling that it’s wrong. Laughing because it’s wrong is what makes it all the more funny, in my opinion. As Mike Patton once sang in Faith No More’s song “Ricochet,” “it’s always funny until someone gets hurt/and then it’s just hilarious.”
While the Australian horror-comedy film “100 Bloody Acres” isn’t a knee-slapping, hilarious film, it’s still a pretty fun flick that manages to pull off laughs as well as violence, gore and some truly sick plot twists. Writer/director brothers Colin and Cameron Cairnes have created a well-scripted, frequently gory yet fun, dark comedy-horror film on what seems to be a smallish budget, and that’s no small feat.
As the film opens, we see local, small-time fertilizer business co-owner Reg Morgan (Damon Herriman), of “Morgan’s Organics,” out on a delivery run. His rickety old truck advertises the fertilizer as nothing but the finest ingredients, including blood and bone. Just as this rather gnarly idea starts to sink in, Reg happens across a fresh traffic accident with a dead body right in the driver’s seat. Morgan’s Organics only claims to be organic, not morally bound to Judeo-Christian ethics, so you can imagine what happens next.
Around the same moment, three friends are driving to an outback music festival when their car breaks down. Party animal (and resident ne’er do well) Wes (Jamie Kristian), his stodgy best friend James (Oliver Ackland) and James’s lovely girlfriend Sophie (Anna McGahan) couldn’t be more different from one another It’s one of those pack of friends that have seemingly kept on long past their expiration date, and yet here they are on an ill-fated road trip. As ill-fates would have it, they come across Reg and his newfound fertilizer booster plan and, before you know it, the three are on their way to the Morgan farm where really disturbed brother Lindsay (Angus Sampson) is waiting to, uh, involve them in the business.
“100 Bloody Acres” isn’t going to wow an audience, but for such a gory, violent and twisted film, it still manages to be fun and almost light-hearted. The use of old-timey Australian country songs add to the almost jovial feel but also provide a nice contrapuntal sound when the violence kicks in. The Cairnes have managed to add quite a bit of depth to each character’s story arc and the way things play out onscreen make for a pretty airtight script, albeit a somewhat predictable one. Yet for all the film’s little foibles, I still found “100 Bloody Acres” a bunch of fun that mixes in some gnarly gore.