Charlie’s Farm (2014)

Director: Chris Sun

The DVD packaging for this film prints a couple of enthusiastic critical notices, including this one which calls it the very thing the slasher genre was needing… by which I can only assume what the genre was lacking was rural Victorian settings (as in the Australian state, not 19th century Britain), cos otherwise I’m damned if I can think of anything else this film did that was, you know, new in any way. Otherwise it ticks most of the usual cliché boxes… bunch of young folk bumming around rural Victoria go to visit the farm of the title, where some 30 years earlier there was a bit of a massacre… cos the farmer and his wife were, shall we say, fucked, and they liked to kill and eat travellers who came their way. So the locals eventually up and killed them, but they missed the somewhat backwards child, Charlie, who’s said by some to still lurk around the old farm. And those people are right, as our Expendable Meat… er, heroes eventually discover. That other enthusiastic critical notice I mentioned can be found here, “Charlie’s Farm is the R rated film Australia has been dying to see”, and insofar as we don’t actually get a lot of R-rated films any more (I actually just did a check of the OFLC website; of the last 250 decisions listed on the site, I think only 6 things were rated R and only one of those was an actual film. The MA rating covers a lot of the old R-rating’s sins), that may or may not be fair… but if it is, damn, we’re evidently starved for something. I’ll give Charlie’s Farm points for what it does right, mostly Charlie himself—impressively massive and well made-up—plus the gore is reasonable and it nicely… subverts, shall we say, the final girl trope. Good Christ, though, until Charlie does finally go rampant in the last half hour, it’s as dull as duckshit; apart from him dispatching a couple of other backpackers before the credits and the flashback to the townsfolk killing the farmer and his wife, bugger all actually happens. It’s a crushingly long setup to establish some characters of not much interest before they get wiped out, and Charlie himself hardly constitutes a character as such, we’re not dealing with Mick Taylor here… Yeah, a bit bullshit. Director Chris Sun is apparently off to the US soon, where he’ll probably do better churning this sort of crap out than he will here… this does not inspire me to check out his other work, though.

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