HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Charlie's Farm
HTS Overall Score:64
Australian horror flicks seem to be the new thing, and for good reason. They are filmed on the cheap (“Charlie’s Farm” was budgeted at $3 million) and rake in a tone of profit per payout. Look at the “Wrong Turn” series. They toss a few bucks at the screen, regurgitate the same old dirty hillbilly horror tropes and they suddenly make $15 + million. I’ve got nothing against the genre. In fact I have a huge soft sport for the mindless slasher, especially these grungy, low budget flicks which is what many of our hallowed slasher franchises started out as. I mean, nobody thought that “Friday the 13th” was something special back in the day, but it’s a bonafide horror classic by today’s standards. “Charlies Farm” uses the same classic clichés and stereotypes as these old films, but really suffers due to market saturation. The thing is, we’ve seen the same thing a BILLION times, and it’s comparatively a bit stale. Even with a few horror cameos “Charlie’s Farm” is just mindless gore without any wit or intelligence to make it funny or at least more than mildly enjoyable.
There’s nothing extremely inventive about “Charlie’s Farm”. It’s the same old tired cliché of a few couples that head out to the middle of nowhere to see a “scary” place and end up being hunted and slaughtered by a serial killing madman. Jason (Dean Kirkright) and his friend Donkey (Sam Coward) decide to take Jason’s Yankee girlfriend Natasha (Tara Reid) and her good luking and nubile friend Melanie (Allira Jaques) out for a good old fashioned camping trip. The only thing is that the boys don’t tell the girls that they’re taking them on a camping trip to an old abandoned farmhouse where a string of cannibalistic murders happened over 30 years ago. The girls judiciously protest the creepy outing once they find out, but of course the stupid boys push on anyways.
Upon arriving at the farmhouse the boys weave the old legend about the Wilson farmhouse. It seems that 30+ years ago the Wilson farm was inhabited by a yank named John Wilson (horror legend Bill Moseley) and his psychotic bride. The two of them butchered dozens of young migrant workers and ate their bodies while their young boy Charlie (Cameron Caulfield in the flashbacks, Giant strongman Nathan Jones as adult) watched. Once the townsfolk figure out what was going on it was too late. Charlie had escaped even though Mr. and Mrs. Wilson were executed by the angry townspeople. Now Charlie hasn’t been seen in 30 years, but there seems to have been reports of missing hikers recently (and that of course doesn’t seem to bother the campers in the least). Setting up camp at the Wilson farm, the gleeful boys and nervous girls make camp, only to run face to face with the thing of legends. A ticked off Charlie who’s mental state isn’t too good, even though he manages entertain himself by hacking and slashing as many of the young campers as he can.
I love horror films, and while my main love is with the “Friday the 13th” style slashers, I do have a taste for the dirty, grungy, backwoods style slashers ala “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “Wrong Turn”. “Charlie’s Farm” just happens to be so derivative and uninspired that I couldn’t help but be a little bit bored through all the carnage. One of the BIGGEST draws to a gory horror movie with a hulked up villain is the kills. I don’t care if there isn’t a bit of ingenuity in the rest of the plot, if you’ve got inventive kills and twisted turns and gory finishing moves then that can cover a multitude of sins. Unfortunately the kills are rather pedestrian and boring. They are GORY as all get out, but none of them stand out at all, which is a crime considering the inclusion of Kane Hodder, Bill Moseley AND the giant hulking behemoth known as Nathan Jones.
The cast is about as one would expect. The main characters are dumb as bricks and as stupid as can be. None of them seems to care a whit about warning signs (seriously has NOONE in the movie world EVER seen a horror movie?) and act about as logically as mice. The guys can think about nothing but jock things and of course sex, while the girls coyly tease the boys while keeping them at arm’s length. The only good performance in the whole movie is Nathan Jones doing is his traditional “losing it” roar while he runs around hacking and slashing twenty something’s to death (even though Tara Reid is more like almost 40). Tara Reid has never been an great actress, but with her apparent anorexia and VERY obvious overabundance of plastic surgery, her looks are ab out as abhorrent as her acting skills.
Not Rated by the MPAA
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=59193[/img]“Charlie’s Farm” is a fairly grungy and dirty looking movie, and the resulting image quality is much the same way. Colors tend to be desaturated and the majority of them of the golden and earthy brown colors. Even the blood is very burnished and dark looking in comparison. The cheap budget allows for a bit of a dusky looking image that is a tad bit soft. There’s no major macroblocking and no digital artifacting besides some banding early on, so the softness seems to be source and SD quality related. Blacks are a bit murky and show some banding as mentioned, but they are more than serviceable and show off enough shadow detail to satisfy.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=59201[/img]The 5.1 Dolby Digital track fares just a bit better. It’s a tad front heavy, with only a little bit of surround usage, but the overall experience is quite aggressive with a lot of horror jump scares and harsh music to keep the listener on edge. Dialog is clean and clear (as long as you can understand the thick Ozzie accents) with no sounds of obvious distortion. Fidelity can be a bit thing sometimes, but the heavy and creepy soundtrack adds some good weight to the rest of the track with some pulsing LFE. Is it fancy? No, but the track is tense enough and full enough to satisfy most listeners, even if it’s mainly used as a blunt object to frighten the listener.
“Charlie’s Farm” isn’t a horrible horror flick, but rather so dull and devoid of ingenuity that it ends up just being passable, which is almost worse than being a BAD movie. At least in the horror genre. The kills are gory as can be, but lacking any shock and awe factor, the dirty little movie just manages to coast on until the 93 minutes of runtime are up. It may be worth a mild rental for horror fanatics, but it didn’t tickle my fancy, and most likely won’t tickle yours. I’d recommend it as a mild rental or just plain skip depending on your love of slashers.
Starring: Tara Reid, Nathan Jones, Kane Hodder
Directed By: Chris Sun
Written By: Chris Sun
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 MPEG2
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1, English DD 2.0
Runtime: 93 Minutes
DVD Release Date: November 3rd, 2015
Buy Charlie's Farm DVD on Amazon
Recommendation: Mediocre Rental
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