Movie Review: Charlie's Farm

Charlie's Farm poster

@TigersMS78 takes a trip to Charlie's Farm...


Chris Sun follows up his 2012 film Daddy’s Little Girl, with a film that has neither the moral questions (not that the film really asked any) nor the relatable storyline of that film, welcome to Charlie’s Farm. The film does have little tension, no scares, a bag full of cliches and some outlandish (and very good) kills.

Charlie’s Farm starts with a well worn prefix for slasher films in that they show what happened to some previous victims in an effort to show you that the killer means business, which it does and then we move onto our main pieces of meat Natasha (Tara Reid), Jason (Dean Kirkright), Donkey (Sam Coward) & Melanie (Allira Jaques), they decide to go camping and one of the boy’s mentions going to Charlie’s Farm. From here we get the usual exposition stuff, however it is interesting and done mostly through flashbacks. Bill Moseley pops in for a cameo (playing a toned down version of Otis from The Devil’s Rejects) before we (and its long overdue when it happens) meet Charlie. Oh and not to be out done Kane Hodder also has a cameo.

The acting is average, with the four main actors all giving fairly earnest performances and no one is particularly bad but I think more than anything they are hamstrung by the writing. The story flows, however with the dialogue being clunky and with some obvious padding it hurts the film. There are some stretches that play very well, only to be undercut by a poorly timed joke that stops the flow of the film dead in its tracks, some may find it funny but I felt it didn’t add to the film in any way whatsoever. Not to mention the myriad of cliched decisions made, it seems that Sun clearly wanted to make this a throwback style of film but including these tired cliches, playing them straight and not trying to even riff on them does nothing for the film. Charlie himself is impressive just through sheer size (Nathan Jones is a beast) but just how an orphaned boy found food and apparently weights to look like Charlie does is probably best glossed over.
 
Charlie's Farm image

The kills – when they eventually happen – are actually quite good. We have throat slashing, skull crushing, jaw removal and even a penis dismemberment (no pun intended). All of them are played out in their gory glory, the effects are very good and are definitely the standout of the film.   

Sun has been reported as saying that he wanted to create a killer ala the big 4 Jason, Michael, Freddy and Leatherface for Australia whilst this film creates a monster it doesn’t surpass Wolf Creek and Mick Taylor as Australia’s bogeyman. Whilst Charlie is a heaving unit of brutality he lacks something that these top four had – the ability to create fear. In much the same way that Victor Crowley from the Hatchet series is just a non-stop killing machine, Charlie is nothing more than a caricature and despite having a back story, for me it just doesn’t work. That may not be the case with everyone of course as everyone is scared of different things but Charlie whilst being dangerous doesn’t inspire that fear.

I really wanted to like Charlie’s Farm and in some respects it is not a bad film but either through design or accident, the film never hits any heights. Chris Sun clearly loves the slasher sub genre but the film is littered with too many cliches to be considered anything more than a slow moving film with some fantastic gore.

Ryan Morrissey-Smith

Twitter: @TigersMS78

Images courtesy of Jameson PR

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