Charlie's Farm Movie Review
Written by Joel Harley
DVD released by Monster Pictures
Written and directed by Chris Sun
2014, 88 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on 22nd June 2015
Tara Reid as Natasha
Kane Hodder as Tony Stewart
Nathan Jones as Charlie Wilson
Bill Moseley as John Wilson
Tara Reid takes a break from battling Sharknados (or whatever the hell it is Tara Reid does in Sharknado) to fend off Bill Moseley's psycho cannibal offspring down under. It's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre by way of Wolf Creek and House of 1000 Corpses, and everything you'd imagine that might entail. Sadly, it's not even the good Chain Saw Massacre from which Charlie's Farm takes its inspiration. As a scenery-chewing Moseley confronts a furious mob outside his isolated cannibal shack, we're put in mind of the recent Texas Chainsaw 3D, minus that film's rich heritage and technical polish. Tara Reid, needless to say, is no Alexandra Daddario. But then, Bill Moseley isn't really Bill Moseley these days either.
Bored in Australia, a gang of thrill-seeking backpackers head off to the titular Charlie's Farm, enticed by stories of its horrific history. Because, you know, Australia is such a famously boring country. Rumours of the residents' mob-based demise turn out to be very much exaggerated, and it isn't long before our pretty young heroes wind up terrified and dead.
In spite of his reliance on backwoods cliché, writer/director Chris Sun does a great job with the cinematography and atmosphere, making Charlie's Farm feel like more than the Texas Chainsaw Rip-off it so undeniably is. The presence of Reid undermines the horror credentials somewhat, but the presence of icons Bill Moseley and Kane Hodder do help offset that a little. The high levels of violence and brutality also do well in making it not feel like your average Tara Reid movie. Which is to say 'terrible'. That Sun has a passion for the genre is undeniable, imbuing even the most perfunctory getting-to-know-you type scenes with a sense of energy that you can't help but admire. It's hard to resent any film which features a brutal fistfight between Kane Hodder and its six-foot-something psycho killer. There's a sense of Hatchet style reverence to slasher classics past at play in Charlie's Farm, and the sentiment is very much appreciated.
Unfortunately, it lacks most of the fun that makes Hatchet and its sequels such a blast, instead spinning its wheels with too much build-up and a terrible Bill Moseley cameo which does nobody (least of all Moseley) any favours. His leering rapist is a far cry from the iconic monstrousness of Chop-Top Sawyer or Otis Driftwood (also a leering rapist, but a well-rounded one), instead veering more towards his awful Drayton Sawyer cameo in Texas Chainsaw 3D. Sad to say, Moseley gives Charlie's Farm its most annoying performance – and in a film which stars Tara Reid, that's no mean feat.
A deeply flawed slasher throwback with just enough to make it worth your while, there's at least a pretty good drinking game to be had out of it. The rules? Any time anyone says 'Charlie's Farm' or just 'Charlie', take a drink. Any time anyone mentions 'Donkey' and his massive penis, take a drink (admittedly, a set-up for the film's best gag). Any time anyone says the word 'retard', take two. Any time Tara Reid does any of those things, down the bottle. You'll probably need it.