Murderdrome Movie Review
Written by Simon Bland
DVD released by Monster Pictures UK
Directed by Daniel Armstrong
Written by Daniel Armstrong, Louise Monnington and Trent Schwarz
2014, Region 2 (PAL), 90 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on 12th May 2014
Kat Anderson as Trans Em
Rachael Blackwood as Hell Grazer
Jake Brown as Brad
Anthony Cincotta as Squids
Demonique Deluxe as Demonique
Gerry Mahoney as Thrusty
Roller derby and murderous hell curses might not be the most common on-screen pairing ever but try to roll with it. This very specific niche forms the backdrop for plucky director Daniel Armstrong’s sticky tape and optimism fuelled exploitation horror Murderdrome, a trashy Aussie slasher that stretches its near non-existent budget almost to breaking point. It used to be that schlocky cinema boasted clumsy make-up, gooey effects and dodgy acting. While the latter is certainly present in this bargain-bin outing, those first two staples have been quickly replaced by questionable computer effects. Murderdrome uses this whole throw away aesthetic to its advantage, but has the life of in-on-the-joke-exploitation movies finally reached an end?
The answer is... probably not just yet. But this CG addition to the formula makes them a new beast entirely - maybe even a new genre - and one that’s sadly sacrificed some of its charm. Armstrong’s directorial debut follows a group of colourfully named roller derby gals (Trans Em, Hell Grazer, Daisy Duke Nuke’em) who, thanks to a cursed artifact, get on the bad side of some demonic roller bitches who hail direct from hell. With only a mysterious, shadow-dwelling janitor for guidance (and plenty of exposition) this badass skater troupe must take down their hell-spawn rivals and off their big bad leader, Mamma Skate.
How much you’ll enjoy Murderdrome depends entirely on your tolerance for bad movies. A scattering of reviews online have responded quite favourably to the messy work Armstrong has served up - and while it’s undeniably admirable what he’s managed to achieve with such small funds - a strong love for so-bad-it’s-good cinema is needed to agree with them all. Of course, that’s completely relative to each viewer. You’re either going to be smirking at its cheesey, (supposedly) intentionally bad line deliveries or checking your phone during its ropey effects sequences. Some scenes go on for far too long, some of the acting suggests these girls are more comfortable in the derby arena than in front of the camera and the plot... well it’s not the most coherent thing ever to be put on screen. The overriding point here is that Murderdrome isn’t a film everyone will like and it’s certainly not a good film by any stretch of the imagination. However it is a pretty inspiring display of what you can achieve with an unusual idea, determination and a little bit of cash under your belt.