Sunday, June 28, 2015

Backpackers Spare Ribs: Charlie's Farm (2014)

Charlie's Farm (Australia, 2014)
Rating: ***
Starring: Tara Reid, Nathan Jones, Kane Hodder

Charlie's Farm came to my interest while I was browsing for new horror releases back at 2013. I stumbled upon one of its promotional artwork, which featured one would assume as Charlie, sitting triumphantly on a mound of skulls whilst other slasher icons lay dead around him.

They're actually crowning him as horror's new king. New king!

I will go as far as say that he might have a chance against Leatherface, Mick Taylor and Michael Myers (Let's face it guys, Michael Myers may have survived gunfire but he is still human. The only reason he lived to star in sequels was because no one ever tried decapitating him. Which is why I kinda cheered at the end of Halloween H20...don't hate me), but Jason Voorhees? The guy who literally just came back from the dead out of pure will in Freddy vs Jason? Or Freddy for that matter?! Literally a demon that haunts and kills you in your dreams!

Perhaps it was to hype us up on how badass this new movie monster is gonna be and after seeing it, he kinda is but he lacked something...

Charlie's Farm is stripped down to the basic slasher bone as this is really nothing more than another gory take on the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre with a bit of Madman (1982); A local legend tells of a family that once lived at the titular farm in the outbacks. The family consisted of a deranged cannibal couple and their mentally handicapped son, hunting down those who strayed too near to their farm. When the townsfolk had enough of their evil ways, they murdered the couple but decided to leave their boy Charlie for dead, believing he wouldn't survive in the wilderness on his own. Some say the boy never really existed, others believe he is still alive, slaying people over the years, but four backpackers decided to visit the infamous barn just for the sense of thrill and for curiosity's sake.

Despite the warnings of the townsfolk, they did find the barn, along with a seven foot tall, machete wielding hulking wild man that have been feeding on whatever he could catch and, yes, that includes humans.

Long story short, they're monumentally screwed.

Clocking at a good 88 minutes, Charlie's Farm is a gory throwback to 80s slashers, with a story so simple that it sticks pretty focused on building up to the killer's arrival and the slaughtering of these four thrill seekers. (Well, six thanks to some last minute additions, literally just there to add up the kill count) For the first half hour, we get the basic cliches of one-dimensional characters upsetting the locals and sharing campfire tales of Charlie and his family. (Hardcore horror fans would easily recognize the father as the legendary Bill Moseley) It does very little but pad some running time, the characters thankfully not all too bad as personalities. Just as plain as dried nuts.

After finding the barn, finishing the rest of Charlie's story and getting their first hand encounter with the local boogeyman (though dismissed as a dream) the real action starts once the gang decided to split in two groups to explore the place a little better and Charlie himself finally arrives in the flesh; advertised as 7-feet tall and weighs 375 lbs, imagine Rob Zombie's Michael Myers in H2, only more hobo, more animal, and sports a weird back deformity that made his spine visible. Not really the look I have in mind for our new horror king but at least strongman Nathan Jones (of the 2015 Mad Max movie) looked kinda cool in a manic cannibal hobo way, plus his character wields an odd looking weapon that resembles a saw-toothed machete crossed with a billhook, that had to count for something!

Around this part, the film showcased its effects work and it was one of the best I've seen in a slasher flick for a while. There's a few CG assist and the majority of the killings were done with traditional latex and camera tricks, including a lot of impalements (and unimpaling), body parts being ripped out, and a nasty castration. The fun thing about this is that it's worth the wait and Charlie, as I mentioned, is pure badass and he knows it. Not only is he big and ugly, but he can take a lot of damage and even beckons some characters to take their best shot at him. (And one of said characters was Jason Voorhees unmasked himself, Kane Hodder!) He is that smug and I believe this film is no more than a star vehicle for a possible new horror icon. Did it worked though?

I'll be honest, the killings are cool and the man-monster is cooler, but the lack of any original plotting or strong leads to root for made this film kinda plain unless you (like me some times) are just in it for the gore. It could be a new cult classic, much like how Laid to Rest and Hatchet seems to have gathered some small following despite their bare-bone stories but Charlie's Farm can be easily replaced as a viewing choice by a ton other similarly premised horror flicks like Wrong Turn. (Or more likely, Wrong Turn 2) And yet, I'm not going to easily dismiss this film; it has potential from a solid direction to great gore effects (though the lighting could use some work) and I am looking forward for any further franchising featuring this cannibal hobo as he is enough of a reason to watch this film.

Close to mediocre yet far from bad, the movie is a good rental choice for those lonesome nights where you crave for bloody chunks on your simplistic horror stories; a movie made simply to star a maniac just for the maniacs inside all of us! Love it or hate it, you can't go wrong with a single visit to Charlie's Farm!

1 male beheaded with a saw-toothed billhook
1 female ran through and disemboweled with a saw-toothed billhook
1 male and 1 female mentioned murdered, pieces of them seen
1 female seen disemboweled
1 male shot on the head with a hunting rifle
1 female bludgeoned to death
1 male hacked to death with an axe
1 female had her head crushed with a tractor wheel
1 male castrated with a saw-toothed billhook, chocked on a severed groin
1 female had her jaw ripped off
1 male clawed on the throat
1 male nearly beheaded with a hunting knife
1 male gets a thrown hatchet to his back
1 female ran through and disemboweled with a hunting rifle
Total: 15


  1. I heard good stuff about it, I heard bad stuff about it. Guess I have to check it out to make sure...

    1. it kinda balances itself out. It's good in a shallow gory way, but nothing else.