Escape from Cannibal Farm

A family holiday can be stressful at the best of times; for the Harver family, mother Katherine, daughter Jessica and her boyfriend Kurt, brothers Toby and ten-year old Sam plus Kathy’s new boyfriend Wesley, a weekend camping would have bad enough even if there had been something to occupy them, but Wesley insists there be no mobile phones or electronic gadgets to distract from the country beauty.

On the way to their destination they pass the Old Hansen Farm where the cider-swilling resident is largely unhelpful in his directions, but later that night when Kathy is hurt when her tent catches fire it is the closest place to go to call for help, but the Hunt Hansen and his family have other plans to save their tender flesh…

Written and directed by Deadman Apocalypse’s Charlie Steeds, Escape from Cannibal Farm is a film which offers exactly what the name implies, a British splatter horror of low budget and even lower ambition, Steeds content to trot out the level of dialogue, acting and production values which would be expected of a soap opera looking to boost its ratings with a series of shock killings.

Rather than attempting to build empathy, Steeds makes his characters weak and unlikeable, bickering from the outset, the simpering Kathy (Rowena Bentley) dominated by Wesley (Toby Wynn-Davies) content to allow him to bully her children if it buys her a comfortable life, her low-watt outrage when the threat to them intensifies more akin to the scolding of an ineffectual schoolteacher than a fierce matriarch protecting her family.

The night scenes so poorly lit as to make the action impossible to see, while that may be an accurate representation of rural life far from the lights of civilisation it is not conducive to a positive viewing experience and neither are the copious dismemberments convincing or creative, Escape from Cannibal Farm more tedious than shocking despite the premise.

With only Wynn-Davies giving a credible performance, the sparse twists are as obvious and witless as the characters, Jessica (Kate Marie Davies) managing to break out of her cage and neglecting to even attempt to rescue her family held alongside her from the mundane degradation threatened before she runs for the door.

Any late attempt to engender sympathy for the victims as contrived and unnatural as their situation, the framing story might help if the backstory it illuminated made sense but the overwrought family feud revealed in flashback plays like something out of a bygone age rather than mere years before cellphones and camper vans.

Despite the obvious parallels with The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Hostel and The Green Inferno the end result is more akin to fifty sheds of medium rare, the artless gore and endless swearing a tiresome and inadequate substitute for atmosphere or menace without even the saving garnish of satire, the safest way to escape from cannibal farm being to avoid it in the first place.

Escape from Cannibal Farm is available on DVD from 88 Films from Monday 25th February



Show Buttons
Hide Buttons