Escape from Cannibal Farm Review

If imitation is the finest form of flattery, then Charlie Steed's movie, "Escape From Cannibal Farm" has a massive debt towards Tobe Hooper's classic, "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre". Looking at this piece of work, it's impossible not to see the 1974 masterpiece hiding in plain sight. Derivation is one thing, but here we can't help but think that the limit has been both reached and surpassed, making it into nothing more than a watered down homage to the much better original. How on earth can you hope to make a movie with a guy running around dressed as leather-face and welding a chainsaw and not think of sunny Texas?

The Premise

Plot-wise there's nothing to write home about. As with many slasher flicks of the late 80's we open with a prologue which is a kind of monster origins movie set-up. Shot in slow motion, in the laziest way of adding dramatic effect, let's just say that a child gets badly burned This is to set up the story of a father protecting his deformed monster son, living together in the middle of nowhere on a depressed and ruined family farm. Oh...the mother kills herself by setting herself on fire. But it's all too odd, in a kinda budget film making way, as if a group of sixth-former school children were making a movie.

The Players

Next we are introduced to the Harvers family who will be offering themselves up as the main players of a gore-fest. To that end, it must be admitted that they are all thoroughly despicable characters. They are as dysfunctional as they are disagreeable. Apparently they're enjoying a camping holiday in the countryside. As such they set up camp near the farm, where they then spend their time sniping, insulting and being awful towards each other. The trope being that as they are so awful, their endings will be more deserved. Here comes the gore...

The Gore-Fest

Next we have over 100 minutes of decidedly iffy special effects coupled together with many different means of dispatching our anti-social family. Shooting, burning, dismembering, you name it and it'll be used. But though these sequences are trying hard to give us the price of our admission ticket, the films budgetary limits are laid bare. Many of the deaths are shot off camera, so we just hear stuff. But when the camera finally pans over the results, the terrible make-up immediately pulls you out of the narrative. To say that they are unconvincing would be being too nice. Unfortunately, they go hand in hand with some equally terrible violent set-pieces that defy all cinema logic. Some characters are so severely maimed, that their chances of survival should be around 30 seconds. And yet they persist and do so repeatedly. Of course all horror films, and films in general require the audience to suspend disbelief. But this flick is asking far too much and as a result the audience is no longer committed.

Where's The Plot?

Then there are plot gaps wide enough to drive a couple of Empire Star Fleet Destroyers through. Children who have previously lost both feet in flashback, yet now appear with them in the present. Someone gets mightily burned in an industrial oven, and yet is able to fight an attacker without any physical impairments. A partial scalping without any loss of blood. Many of these factors point to the amateur nature of the whole project. Yet there are so many very low budget movies that might not be a success on the technical side, but are still an amazing viewing. There could of been something in taking a rural English setting and somehow mixing in those American sensibilities. But as with so many low budget movies, everything is all fine and dandy until the talent needs to say their lines. It was obvious that not having the funds for descent acting talent would doom this venture.

Can't Un-see

Sadly, this picture was already dead at the development stage. There's no hero's journey or even anything empowering. The audience doesn't have a character to sympathize with or care about or even hope for. In the end, there's no reason for the audience to care. The script was by the director, which is always a difficult one, as having the one person wear those two hats is always asking for trouble with micro financing. Unfortunately there are hundreds of ten penny British horror films being spewed out on an annual basis. This is just another one. Apparently Texas called: They want their Texas Chainsaw Massacre back.

Escape Room Horror Games

You don't have to look very hard to find that there are many escape room games based around the horror genre. A creepy narrative, in a dark and dank setting along with the ever present fear of what might happen if you fail in your mission to complete the escape room before the clock counts down the time. There's a reason for it's enduring popularity. If you look at movies like the "Saw" and "Hostel" franchise, there are elements of the escape room game set-up. Because everyone likes to be scared once in a while, some games will up the ante by having deranged and bloody actors running around with axes and neat cleavers looking for victims. Probably there's nothing that's going to make your palms sweatier than having some monstrous creature pounding at the door as you try and work out how to open the exit.