Fresh Meat (2012)
Directed by: Danny Mulheron
Written by: Brad Abraham, Briar Grace Smith, Joseph O'Brien
Starring: Hanna Tevita, Jack Sergeant-Shadbolt, Kahn West, Kate Elliott, Leand Macadaan, Nicola Kawana, Ralph Hilaga, Temuera Morrison, Will Robertson
(18) Running time: 92 minutes
Director: Danny Mulheron
Writers: Brad Abraham, Joseph O’Brien, Briar Grace Smith
Cast: Temuera Morrison, Nicola Kawana, Hanna Tevita, Kate Elliott, Jack Sergeant-Shadbolt, Leand Macadaan, Ralph Hilaga, Kahn West, Will Robertson
Reviewed by: Matt Wavish
Danny Mulheron’s Fresh Meat is a unique experience, it captivates in its beauty and tons of sexual perversions while making you laugh out loud at its bizarre silliness. All the while you are disgusted with yourself for siding with a family of cannibals, and even more confused at the fact you are cheering on a lesbian hero. What makes matters worse it that Fresh Meat also uses a Maori family as the setting for the cannibalistic setting, and from what I have read the words ‘Maori’ and ‘Cannibal’ are risky to be put together for whatever reason. To put it bluntly, Fresh Meat is wrong in so many ways, and it is 100% NOT PC, and the film is a total blast from start to finish.
I watched Fresh Meat after seeing the hilarious trailer, but fully believed that all the good stuff was shown in the two minutes of footage, and thought there was no way the film could live up to its promise. This film delivers everything the trailer promised, and a whole lot more too, and if you are smart enough to take the film on face value and try not to read into everything, then you are in for a right good laugh, and some of the most fun moments you will see in horror all year. The basic rule here is leave your brain switched to off, grab some beers and have some fun, there is no need for all this seriousness all the time, just enjoy yourself. Fresh Meat is all about enjoying yourself, in many different ways, so let’s get started with the plot shall we…
We first meet the sexy Rina (Tevita) whom we learn in the glorious opening few minutes is a lesbian. She is at college, is in the shower, and then moves to the next cubicle to share a shower with another girl student. Then we meet the ‘cannibal’ family, headed by the hilarious and totally insane Hemi Crane (a wonderful over the top Morrison), he is a college Professor who is yet to have a work published, and he is bitter about that, but even more bitter that his professional cook wife Margaret (Kawana) has had a number of cook books published. They also have a Son who likes to play cricket, and they are also cannibals who worship some Solomon God, and Hemi believes the more people he eats, the more immortal he becomes. Then there is the group of petty criminals whom we meet in hilarious fashion. Paulie Tan (Hilaga) is broken out of a police van in a botched but hilarious break-out which see’s one of the group attempt to blow the doors off the van and make a total mess of it. The group is headed up by the ultra sexy Gigi (Elliott): wearing seductive pink hotpants and knee high socks, she is every mans fantasy, and also becomes the fantasy of Rina.
After breaking out Tan, the criminals need to lie low, and end up in Hemi’s house, just hours after Rina has returned home and found out her family are cannibals. The rest of the film is then made up of the criminals holding the family hostage as situations develop which lead to hilarious and often violent conclusions. The limited idea of holding a family hostage is stretched to bold and brilliant scenarios by the director and writers as the film takes a number of unexpected but brilliant turns. Most notably is when the family is separated, and each criminal takes a family member to a room to keep them quiet. Hemi does lines of speed with his criminal, Margaret talks sausage rolls with her captor (he is a big fan of her cooking), the Son shares porn magazines with Gigi, while Rina gets into a bizarre sexual encounter with Tan. Naturally everything goes wrong, but it is clear from these moments that the director has a very bright future. His way of building on a simple idea and making it into something far more than we ever imagined is fantastic, and Fresh Meat is simply bursting with ideas and charm. The colourful characters, sexy girls and building sense of things about to go wrong make this film so much fun that it is often hard to take it all in.
Once the violence really kicks into gear, and things take a dangerous turn, the director shows immense skill and dedication to giving the viewer something to really love. Morrison in particular appears to be having the time of his life as things escalate. Taking his role in the classic Once Were Warriors and turning it into a madman cannibal who believes he will one day be immortal is some of the funniest stuff you will see all year. Then there is the script, with Morrison bullying his captor and bellowing the words “you want another line fuck knuckle!!”, or shouting at his son as he throws a dead body down into the ‘kitchen’ “don’t bruise the meat boy!!”. In his New Zealand accent, these moments take on a life all of their own. When he also gets angry when the criminals talk of his wife and her cook books, and he bellows at them “I am the damn writer”, shows that Morrison is the perfect casting choice here.
Fresh Meat is so much fun it hurts, and those that enjoy their horror that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and can relax and have a laugh, then this film will deliver everything you need. There is so much good stuff here I could go on all night listing what made me laugh or cheer in total joy. Granted the film isn’t perfect, but to dig into the films faults when it is so enjoyable is insulting. If you can turn off your serious head and just go with it, Fresh Meat delivers a whopping 90 minutes of pure joy. Fun, sexy, violent and at times a little sickening, this is what horror comedies are all about. Tasty!