This review is for the German Mediabook release of Charlie’s Farm from Illusions Unltd.
Slashers may be my favorite horror subgenre. They just seem to be a pretty safe bet. They may not always result in a good movie per se, but more often than not I find them to be entertaining and I’m ok with that. Charlie’s Farm is the type of slasher that perfectly fits the criteria. The plot is merely ok and some of the acting and dialogue is atrocious, but man is this movie a ton of fun!
Before even getting into the film though I have to talk about the cover art for this release. The artwork is a drawing of Charlie in the middle sitting on what looks almost like a makeshift throne, I think it might be part of a tractor, but I’m not entirely sure. Surrounding Charlie are the decapitated and now impaled heads of Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees and Leatherface. Laying dead at Charlie’s feet is Mick Taylor. Oh and Charlie is picking his teeth with Freddy’s glove. The expectations are set really high here.
The story is pretty basic. Somewhere in the Australian outback is Charlie’s Farm. This is where the Wilson family – father John (Bill Moseley), mother Merideth (Trudi Ross) and young son Charlie (Cameron Caulfield) – all lived. The Wilsons were a very violent family. John would torture and sexually abuse young girls and then Merideth would murder the poor girls for coming on to her husband. This was all done with Charlie forced to watch. One day the townsfolk had enough and stormed the Wilson house killing both John and Meredith. Charlie escaped and was never seen again, but rumor had it he still hung about the old house, which was eventually dubbed Charlie’s Farm.
A group of 4 friends – Natasha (Tara Reid), Jason (Dean Kirkright), Donkey (Sam Coward), and Melanie (Allira Jaques) – decide to venture out to the farm and check it out. Natasha is very hesitant to do so, however, and she makes it clear over and over again that she think it’s a bad idea. This is one of the worst parts of Charlie’s Farm. Natasha is just nagging nonstop about how going to the farm isn’t a smart move. Look, I get it. Every slasher needs this one friend, the one who seems afraid but in actuality is the smart one for not wanting to go, but don’t make her so annoying. She can be against going and not be annoying. It’s all about balance.
I’m not sure where to place the blame for the character of Natasha. The dialogue for the most part isn’t great. In fact, it’s really subpar, even for slashers. It also doesn’t help that Reid’s performance is very flat and unconvincing. I haven’t seen enough Tara Reid movies to judge her as an actress overall, but I can say for certain that she’s not very good in Charlie’s Farm. In fact, all 4 of the friends are pretty poor characters represented by mostly week performances. Aside from Donkey, who is actually a bit interesting and seems to have a little more depth that it would first appear. Not a lot, but there seems to be something there.
What’s great about Charlie’s Farm is that these poor characters don’t really matter at all. If you’re a fan of horror and in particular slashers, you’ll find a lot to enjoy. You get a pretty large Kane Hodder cameo that ends with him getting into a fist-to-fist showdown with adult Charlie, played by a hulking Nathan Jones. This is fun for horror fans because in our minds we know that Hodder is Jason Voorhees so basically we’re getting to watch Jason take on Charlie and horror fans love to see two killers square off.
Kill count is always important for a slasher and in that regard Charlie’s Farm more than delivers. If memory serves me, there are 12 kills and every one is on screen. Don’t hold me to this number though, I could be off a kill or two. Either way, it’s a healthy kill count. The movie actually opens with the first of three decapitations. Every kill looks pretty awesome as well. Great use of practical effects. Two kills in general really stand out. I won’t spoil them completely for you, but I will say pay close attention to the skinny dipping scene with Donkey and Melanie. That’s when Charlie’s Farm really amps things up and takes off.
The weak story and bad acting are totally worth the end result. Charlie’s Farm is super fun slasher that I would absolutely love to see get a sequel.
The mediabook release from Illusions Unltd is truly fantastic. The book comes with both the Blu-ray and DVD of the film and inside there’s a 16-page booklet. Now unless you read German, the writing in the booklet is mostly useless, however, there are some really great storyboard drawings that make for a great addition. From what I can gather from the German is that the booklet almost serves like the program to a play, listing the cast and crew with short bios. This is a nice touch, even if I can’t read it.
Charlie’s Farm is now available on Region B Blu-ray/DVD from Illusions Unltd.