By Erin Free

“It’s a very funny script,” producer, Julie Ryan, told FilmInk on the South Australian set of 100 Bloody Acres. “The characters are all very real, so it’s not a farcical horror, but we’re not getting Wolf Creek either.” The blend of comedy and horror is a tough one to get right, and indeed, the comedy-horror sub-genre is often just a refuge for filmmakers who can neither orchestrate a good joke, nor a good scare. But with their 2012 debut feature film, brother directing team, Colin and Cameron Cairnes, proved themselves potential masters of this well-trodden and oft-mistreated patch of cinematic turf.

Exploding genre conventions left, right and centre, 100 Bloody Acres follows three youngsters – long-term couple, Sophie (Anna McGahan) and James (Oliver Ackland), and their obnoxious friend, Wes (Jamie Kristian) – on their way to a rural music festival. As so often happens in horror films, their car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, and the three photogenic kids find themselves at the mercy of a choice selection of the area’s most demented locals. But in a refreshing twist, the deranged individuals that they meet haven’t been pulled straight from central casting. Brothers, Reg (Damon Herriman) and Lindsay Morgan (Angus Sampson), are the owners of a local blood-and-bone business, whose produce just happens to contain a secret ingredient. And as the birds tweet and the leaves rustle in this charming little part of Australia, Sophie, James and Wes could very well become part of the fertiliser that nourishes it.

While caked with blood and dotted with inventive gore, there’s a real sense of Australiana about 100 Bloody Acres. Tunes by Slim Dusty and Chad Morgan play on the soundtrack, along with amusingly crafted rural radio ads, and there’s a lovely strain of parochialism to what unfolds on screen. There’s even a cameo from Wolf Creek bad boy, John Jarratt! There’s also a real sense of sweetness to the film, which largely comes from blood-and-bone mogul, Reg Morgan. While his brutish, bullying brother, Lindsay, supplies most of the film’s horror, Reg is a nice guy underneath, and it soon becomes obvious that he’s carrying something of a torch for Anna McGahan’s cute but earthy Sophie. Despite the splatter, 100 Bloody Acres is a true charmer. “We’re big fans of horror and comedy,” Cameron Cairnes told FilmInk just before 100 Bloody Acres’ way-too-brief release. “We’re big fans of all genres really, and the film reflects that. It’s not just our horror and comedy tastes that are in there. Our love of musicals, westerns and relationship drama is all in the mix too.”




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