CHARLIE’S FARM [2014]

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Directed and Written by Chris Sun

Starring: Nathan Jones, Tara Reid, Kane Hodder, Bill Moseley, Dean Kirkright, Allira Jaques

Us Aussies can make a good horror flick, and it seems we still have a knack for it. Snowtown, Wolf Creek, last year’s The Babadook and Wyrmwood, and now this: a slightly different spin on the Haunted House genre. This of course is what drives the movie, as we follow our foursome (featuring Tara Reid of all people!) who want to check out the home of an urban legend: Charlie’s Farm.

What is neat about this simple and incredibly unoriginal premise is the flashbacks that created the legend. This is where the movie deviates slightly from the cliches that we all know will be present, and they are there, trust me. As the tale is told by various characters, we are taken back to when Charlie was a child. We see unsettling images of psychotic parents kidnapping victims, while an extremely malnourished child – Charlie – swings creepily back and forth on a rocking horse. There are flies everywhere. These flashbacks make the trip to the farm far from boring, which many horror films suffer from.

charlies-farm-2This tale is expanded on over a campfire, as we see further into to the tale that gave rise to the urban legend.

A group of angry locals come banging on the front door of the Wilsons, accusing the family of being responsible for missing backpackers and workers who have disappeared after working on the farm. Both of Charlie’s parents are great as psychotic nut-jobs here, while Charlie himself is one creepy looking kid. All these flashbacks are extremely well presented; it is easy to forget that we are watching a part of the story that is 30 years old. They also serve as a great build up to the action, and it gets the viewer thinking a little… Is that really how it went down? Why the hell did that child look so… unhealthy??

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These notions are shattered quickly as the action suddenly swings its axe. There is no supernatural bullcrap going on here, as this is one for the slasher fans. The backpackers find the house on the farm, and it doesn’t take long for the brutality to begin. Charlie has managed to stay alive for thirty years and is now a hulking mass of a man (played by an ex-pro wrestler, Nathan Jones) who appears hell-bent on destroying anything in his path. He is also quite creative, as the kills in this movie are its ace up its sleeve. They are inventive and horrifying; slasher/gore films rarely make me uncomfortable, but this one most certainly did. He isn’t the most memorable villain, but I don’t think I’ll forget Charlie, both the massive adult and the creepy child, in the near future.

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This movie is short, but it felt only an hour long as it flew by. This is thanks to the interesting build up, but principally thanks to the insanely brutal and unforgettable kills. There is nothing really new here within this flick, but it is a lot better than B-grade movies of a similar nature that seem to come out every other day. Here, the acting is actually pretty decent (even Tara Reid wasn’t too bad!) and the back-story of Charlie really gives the film an identity of its own. And while it feels odd saying this when writing about a slasher flick, the photography was fantastic. From the incredible landscapes of Australia’s outback to perfectly capturing each gruesome death, this is a movie that looks better than it ought to.

3/5 – Worth a watch, especially if you like slasher flicks!! Eric, you’ll love this one!