The horror comedy "100 Bloody Acres" spews viscera, blood and colloquialisms such as "wang-dang" and "pongy" all over the Adelaide Hills of South Australia, where the brothers Colin and Cameron Cairnes filmed this jaunty debut feature, a hit at the recent Slamdance adjunct of the Sundance Film Festival.
It's a tale of two brothers, put-upon Reg (Damon Herriman) and his Lurch-like older sibling, Lindsay (Angus Sampson). Their regionally famous blood-and-bone fertilizer blend has worked wonders for the local farmers. Secret ingredient? Think "Soylent Green" without the crackers: This fertilizer contains bits of human corpses, minced just so, the useful byproduct of fatal car accidents on the local backroads.
It sounds appalling, but "100 Bloody Acres" has a spring in its step. Our entry into this world is provided by three 20-somethings from the city, en route to a Woodstock-type music festival. Sophie (Anna McGahan), a product of the outback, has one official boyfriend (Oliver Ackland) and one on the side (Jamie Kristian), a dilemma she relays with improbable ease to instantly smitten Reg, who picks up the hitchhikers. She sits up front and sings songs with Reg; the lads make do in the back of the truck, surrounded by foul-smelling bags of fertilizer ingredients.
The word "organic" has been applied to so much in the marketplace, you have to wonder about some of the products out there. "100 Bloody Acres" serves as a cautionary tale. Confined mostly to the isolated farm and shed where the magic happens, the movie's heart is squarely with Reg, who must learn to free himself from the cruelties of his menacing older brother. Herriman's performance is a well-sustained twitch, with heart. There's an amusing acid trip, with Kristian's wild-eyed character tripping out in a local amusement park. The sound designers relish such details as the sound of severed corpse fingers being tossed in the back of a truck, plip-plop.
The ringer is McGahan, who seems destined for great things in a variety of roles. Her hearty, back-slapping character becomes more herself once she's in the company of Reg. The movie's modest, but lively. And the moral? Beware the organic fertilizer supplier searching for ways to monetize the odd stranger.
No MPAA rating (gore, language, violence, unorthodox organic fertilization techniques)
Running time: 1:30