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Directed by Charlie Steeds
Written by Charlie Steeds
Starring Kate Davies-Speak, Barrington De La Roche, David Lenik, Rowena Bentley, Toby Wynn-Davies, Peter Cosgrove, Joe Street, Dylan Curtis, Sam Lane, Jackson Wright, Kate Llewellyn, Jack Miller
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CANNIBAL FARM seems to know what it wants to do and does that pretty capably. Mistakenly advertised as a TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE on the YouTubes, CANNIBAL FARM is a brutal and gory film that emulates TCM immensely. And if you’re a TCM fan, I’m sure there is going to be a lot to like and a lot to be annoyed with while watching this film.

It’s a tale as old as time, a family goes on a trip to the countryside, not knowing that in the farm over lives sadistic cannibals looking for a bite of anyone close. Brandishing sledge hammers and chainsaws, a boy who was disfigured as a child and his crazy old father captures and threatens to cook the trespassers, selling the fixin’s to the neighboring farms.

CANNIBAL FARM is pretty overindulgent at just about every turn. The family in peril are about as annoying a family as I have ever encountered in a horror film. I never so much wanted to see a family get decimated as I did these guys. There’s the angry father, the apologetic mother, the spoiled Nancy-boy son, the adult daughter hitting the parents up for money and her overly horny boyfriend, and the kid who can’t stop watching horror movies. I understand that the kids in TCM weren’t the most likable. Hell, I wanted Francis to be murdered as soon as he appeared on screen, but these guys take the cake in the annoying protagonist category. So I guess there’s a little satisfaction at play in this film seeing these guys die horribly. Still, it makes watching this family grueling, as I sat with these crying and wincing people for most of the film as they dropped one by one. There’s an especially annoying segment where the mother sings to her dying son in an oven that made me want to pull what little hair I have left out of my head.

I didn’t mind the gore. It’s actually quite good and viscerally impactful. I also think that writer/director Charlie Steeds does a pretty great job of communicating frantic action spattered with all kinds of gruesome imagery. But other than the fact that this film really wants to be the Tobe Hooper classic, the dialog, at times, is horrendous. “It was a sadistic revenge, full of grief and hatred, in my deranged, blackened mind.” said no one ever. But it is a line that is supposed to be taken seriously in this film. On top of the dialog, there are also big problems with the way the script is structured as the film introduces key characters in the last fifteen minutes and opens up the threat to a much wider problem very late in the game as well. Had these details been somehow peppered in earlier in the film, CANNIBAL FARM would have viewed much more clearer and effectively. Instead, this ends up being kind of a gory storytelling stew with all kinds of chunks and pieces of different things thrown in at weird times and at indiscriminate amounts.

Look for surface level scares, gore, and action, but the deeper CANNIBAL FARM tries to go, the more it falls apart.

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