Tarnation (Monster Fest 2017)
Daisy Masterman, Emma-Louise Wilson, Blake Waldron, Jasy Holt
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…a cross-pollination of The Evil Dead and The Mighty Boosh.
Having tackled roller derbies, wrestling and cyborgs in his previous films, Melbourne filmmaker Daniel Armstrong (From Parts Unknown) turns his attention to good old-fashioned devil worshipping. Well, demon unicorn worshipping, but it all amounts to the same thing, right?
Having been fired unceremoniously by her manager, singer Oscar (Daisy Masterman) is persuaded to join her friends for a dirty weekend in the country. ‘It’s not exactly like a weekend away in a cabin in the woods is going to kill anyone, is it?’, Oscar incorrectly prophesises. Despite sex and alcohol being readily available, things quickly turn sour when demon possession crashes the party and Oscar is left to punch, kick and eviscerate her way to safety.
Looking slick, though a little rough around the edges due to budget constraints, horror fans who have grown tired of CGI over practical effects will certainly get a kick out of what the film has to offer, from pro-wrestling demons to a nifty looking bleeding painting. Anyone else with a fondness for Sam Raimi’s body of work will certainly appreciate what is, in essence, Armstrong’s homage to a certain Bruce Campbell-led trilogy. Rather than simply aping the premise, Tarnation builds upon it, running amok with the tropes which have been a staple of horror since time immemorial.
Tarnation hits the ground running from minute one and never really lets up. Admittedly, your mileage may vary with a horror that doesn’t take itself at all seriously for the entirety of its running time. Raimi certainly never had Ash go up against a boxing kangaroo (replete with boxing gloves), and a third act rap battle means Tarnation, if anything, is a cross-pollination of The Evil Dead and The Mighty Boosh. It’s a lot of fun and you’re not going to walk away bored.