As damaging as it might be to its chances of a fair distribution at home, Charlie’s Farm is the R rated film Australia has been dying to see. Its ruthless, no-holds-barred savagery makes it one of the greatest Australian slasher films of all time, and while it may not have the brains of some contemporary offerings like Greg Mclean’s Wolf Creek, it’s got much, much more brawn.
Bored with not much to do, Jason (Dean Kirkright), Donkey (Sam Coward), Natasha (Tara Reid) and Melanie (Allira Jaques) head out to Charlie’s farm for the weekend to explore the urban legend of a psycho killer, Charlie, whose parents were murdered by a vengeful mob accusing the couple of terrible doings towards backpackers working the farm.
It’s not long into the group’s trip when we’re introduced to Charlie, played by a hulking Nathan Jones. He’s hellbent on killing the intruders in the most violent ways imaginable – without giving anything away one victim incurs the longest, most excruciating throat slashing ever seen on film. While the squeamish might not be able to help but look away, those who respect world class special effects of the highest quality will find a lot to appreciate, not only during this scene but throughout Charlie’s entirety.
Charlie’s Farm is riddled with familiar yet gorgeous horror film clichés that have made the genre so rich over the decades. There’s a campfire scene, pretty blonds, a mentally impaired child and at the centre of it all, a deeply disturbed family headed by horror film veteran Bill Moseley (House of 1000 Corpses) who gives the film its most impressive performance. He’s so electrifying here that it’s a shame his role wasn’t drawn out a little longer.
In fact, all of the performances are better than expected for a low budget horror film. Trudi Ross is gut-wrenching as Charlie’s overprotective mother and the two male leads are wonderfully humorous. But it’s two more Americans who surprise the most – Kane Hodder (Jason Takes Manhattan) can actually act and he does a great job as Tony and Tara Reid turns in her most tolerable performance ever.
At the heart of all of this is the film’s director – an incredibly talented Chris Sun (Daddy’s Little Girl) who demonstrates a genuine understanding of a genre he’s obviously so passionate about. This isn’t child’s play, this is a sick and twisted imagination that would be wasted on anything other than horror. If Sun can maintain this high level of quality in future filmmaking endeavours then not only is Australian horror in sterling hands but Australian filmmaking altogether.
Charlie’s Farm: 3.5/5
Directed by: Chris Sun
Starring: Tara Reid, Kane Hodder, Bill Moseley, Nathan Jones, Dean Kirkright, Same Coward and Allira Jaques
Review by: Matthew Eeles