Charlie’s Farm (2014) Content Warning: Gore, Strong Violence, Cannibalism, Sexual Violence
This review may contain upsetting content: A Note on Movie Musings
Charlie’s Farm (2014)
Directed by Chris Sun
Starring Tara Reid, Nathan Jones, Kane Hodder, Bill Moseley
In an effort to do something different, four friends head into Australia's outback to explore Charlie's Farm, the site where a violent family met their end at the hands of an angry mob. ...
IMDb Rating: 4.6
“You Don’t Half Find Some Crap to Watch”
As I pressed play on my Sky remote and began Charlie’s Farm, the recent damning words of a friend popped into my mind. For those who have happened upon my Movie Musings before, you might think I’ve never managed to see a good movie in my life. That, of course, is untrue. However, I see little value in writing about a lot of the more familiar fare. Who cares to see yet more comments on X-Men: Apocalypse, or The Revenant? Those movies have been analysed to death across countless websites and forums. Charlie’s Farm, on the other hand, not so much.
The reason I write the above is that I know the vast majority of these low budget, obscure schlock flicks are going to have the cinematic worth of flies buzzing around a turd. Charlie’s Farm has all the ingredients to be utterly appalling. You have Tara Reid in a major role, which sets off many alarm bells. It’s a post-2000s slasher film, which usually suggests possessing all the creative flair of a dead womble. The eponymous character is cringingly referred to as “the retard” more often than Charlie. You can draw your own conclusions on that. And we have a character, Donkey; so named because he allegedly possesses an enormous penis which makes even his best friend proud. Much like the references to female genital mutilation in Green Inferno, you can guess what’s gonna happen there.
So It’s Shit, Right?
Surprisingly, no, it’s not shit. It certainly lacks originality, but who didn’t see that coming? The plot revolves around Charlie’s Farm, shockingly enough. A cannibalistic rapist and murderer used to ply his trade there back in the Seventies. It seems the locals started to suspect that some shenanigans were afoot, and formed a good ol’ fashioned lynch mob to bring him to justice. However, his young child, Charlie, escaped and was never seen again. WooOoooOooo. Ahem, excuse me.
In the modern time, Donkey (Sam Coward) and his best mate, Jason (Dean Kirkright) are bored watching Natasha (Tara Reid) in a pool. They want to do something, and what could be better than exploring the remote scene of a mass murdering rapist cannibal, right? Keeping the details of their little road trip to themselves, they convince Natasha to bring her best friend, Melanie (Allira Jacques) with them. Off they go then.
Horror Rule #241: Always Assume Locals Know Nothing
Stopping off at a local bar, Donkey starts questioning the locals about Charlie’s Farm. It’s always a good idea to head off on an eight-hour journey without knowing where your destination is. The locals are rather hostile to the notion of anyone visiting Charlie’s Farm and attempt to deter Donkey. He’s not having any of it. After all, what would they know, right? The fact that a fight breaks out before anyone gives him the directions he needs, which he then doesn’t listen to anyway, still isn’t enough to put Jason and Donkey off the idea. And in the end, they can give Kane Hodder a call, so that worked out.
Soon after, the stalk and slash killing spree begins. Yes, very formulaic indeed. The reason it’s not bad, though, is because it does subvert some expectations. The ending, for example, is a welcome twist on slasher norms. Another area where Charlie’s Farm works well is in pacing. Even the shortest slashers have a tendency to be slow going. There’s often a lot of work in the setup and then a machine-gun approach to the payoff. By blending the past with the present, Charlie’s Farm maintains its pace and doesn’t have that “get to the point!” midpoint lull. It might never manage to be creepy, and the sex offender panting of Charlie is reminiscent of The Breather from Student Bodies, but overall the movie is competent.
Unless you’ve never seen a slasher film in your life, Charlie’s Farm offers little you haven’t seen before. There are times where I wondered whether it was deliberately dabbling in self-parody. If we’re honest, there is everything to dislike about this movie. Yet, it’s oddly enjoyable. A lot of attention was paid to the special effects, which are delightfully grizzly if you like a bit of gore in your schlock. Acting wise, it’s again mostly competent. I think the movie excels in the visual department. The filmmakers utilised the Australian landscape to full effect that there’s almost a Texas Chainsaw Massacre quality to the cinematography.
It’s not likely to scare you. There isn’t anything that will likely make you jump. It is laden with horror movie cliches to the point that it offers little new. That’s never the point with these films. They’re supposed to speak to our darker sides and allow us to revel just a tad in the macabre. On that front, Charlie’s Farm works reasonably well. As far as Australian horror goes, it’s no Wolf Creek, but it’s not too far in quality from Wolf Creek 2.