Screenwriter and director Ryan Nicholson, a name synonymous with gruesome creations, in this case Famine fulfills the wish list for many dedicated horror fans and exceeding the extremism for excessive gore which spreads itself in tidal waves of bloodlust. Ryan, who is most noted for his film Gutterball , a film that fitted fans with gore, guts, sexploitation, and perhaps one of the most intense brutal rape scenes ever to grace a horror film, spins a new tale with the help of fellow screenwriter Jeff O’Brien (Attack of the Giant Leeches ). Together these two writers bring every bit of over-the-top splatter-fest, mixed into a beyond controllable campy b-movie horror blitz, though lying just under the surface of this 77-minute horror flick, a therapeutic revenge story.
First, the obvious point that many critics choose to point out as one of the main downfalls of the film, the bad acting, actually the sloppy acting comes as intentional. In fact, it all plays off the name of the school ‘Sloppy Secondary’ and the mayhem that happens adds more to the incident which occurs years before and repeats itself again, (hint) ‘Sloppy Seconds’. Then add in, the technical aspect, well-paced, and very good camera direction, and the outrageously comical delivery of the script with seriousness, gusto, and without any stumbling of hesitation. The title alone, marks lunacy, a 24-hour lockdown imprisonment, to starve oneself for awareness of other children in third world countries, while their hormones race at full throttle. These students, children themselves, participate in good fun for the extra credit, and in what wacky world would any of this bizarreness occur, but in an inside out intentional offensive horror movie. Ryan’s cast who many appeared in his 2010 production Star Vehicles, name, Nathan Durec (Balszack), Glen Hoffman (Principal Nielson), Christopher Lomas (Nick) and Ady Megia (Andrea), rounding out the group with extremely tendencies, Beth Cantor and Christine Wallace. Beth acts and nails the role of, Cathy, a hilarious female form of Lewis Skolnick (Revenge of the Nerds (1984)) while Christine competes wildly as Jenny has Asperger Syndrome. Although, for extra measure, Ryan himself stars as The Nailer character, which appears as a cross between a life-size happy Howdy Doody and Miner 49er, school mascot, who enjoys whacking students in the head with several devices, including a nail gun.
Famine comes with amusing elements, that fulfill a checklist of a slasher film inside a maze of lockers, and classrooms, filled with bodies of students piling up and blood oozing, leaking, spilling, and cascading in a slippery watershed blood-soaked tantalizing kill. It has the marks of a group of filmmakers, left alone with an unlocked practical special effects closet of tools to deliver unto the characters life defining moments. The body count adds up quickly and the students find themselves wearing less and less at every given moment, and that only triggers bigger stunts of extremely full-blown disembowelments and zany throat slashing sprays of blood, that have serial killers Jason and Michael Myers fans eyes bouncing around in their sockets. The entire film excites horror fans seeking to have a wonderful time, with a silly, comical, never seriously admitting to the ridiculous nature of the absurdities that occur, time after time, with relentless bombardment of gore and messy situations. One can only imagine the behind the scenes of this film’s set, as it appeals to a wonderful and jovial cast willing of lather up in layers of latex and gallons of blood. Most taglines merely suggest an element in a film, however, Famine’s reads “20 students, 20 hours, 20 horrible ways to die” lives up to every essence of that statement, never once backing down nor away from the goal.
If one recalls the comedy, oversexed antics and silliness of Porky’s (1981) where multiple jokes involved sex organs, and then flipped the storyline and script, complete with the conditions of a popular 1980s’ gutter version high school slasher splatter platter of blood and guts, then one has Famine. This nasty scene filled horror film, granted a fully pushed to maximum level of legal cinematography, won’t cause nightmares or have chilling effects on your life, but it definitely has oneself longing and craving Ryan’s next advantage.
This review was originally posted on the Rogue Cinema website back in October 2014.
- Thirty students. Twenty-four hours. Zero survivors.
- 20 students, 20 hours, 20 horrible ways to die.
IMDb Rating: 3.3/10
Baron’s Rating: 3.0/10