Bad Meat (2011)
(18) Running time: 86 minutes
Director: Lulu Jarmen
Writer: Paul Gerstenberger
Cast: Dave Franco, Tahj Mowry, Elisabeth Harnois, Mark Pellegrino, Jessica Parker Kennedy, Monique Ganderton
Reviewed by: Matt Wavish
Bad Meat has been in production for quite some time, and after a change of directors and budget issues, the film was looking like it might be cancelled altogether. Eventually though, the film got finished, but naturally the finished product is not quite as polished as it could have been. That is not to say Bad Meat is a bad film, it is just a bit of a mess, and the production issues show.
This film can be a lot of fun if taken on face value, so please try not to think too hard about what is unfolding on screen and you just might find yourself enjoying this simple gorefest. The story focuses on a group of six teens, three women and three men, who have been sent to a sort of rehabilitation camp in the middle of the woods, and here a brutal regime will set them back on the right path in life. Their parents have simply given up on them, and they arrive at the hands of Doug (Pellegrino) and his three brutish staff, and they intend to make the teens stay here very unpleasant. The first half of the film is made up of the teens experience at the camp, and while it never fully develops into proper nasty territory, it is quite fun to watch. The most torturous things they are put through is wood chopping, a bit of therapy and possibly being thrown into a dark room. There were grounds to follow all sorts of torture porn horrors here, but sadly the film never fully explores those angles, which is a shame. The characters are never fully developed either, and while you do get to know the teens, they never truly become characters you actually care for.
The guys all do their tough guy act in their room, while the girls room is much more interesting. One girl is here because she may be a lesbian, and the girls spend the majority of the first half in their underwear, score one for us the viewer, and score two for the pervy cook staring through their open window at night. The staff on hand to dish out the punishment barely get a look in, and mostly communicate through grunts and forced macho charisma that is more laughable rather than intimidating. A bizarre encounter see’s the female of the group having a strange sexual experience with one of the staff, while watching the other staff member doing weird things down the hall way. It is uncomfortable, and just weird.
The film changes gear half way through as the staff sit down to have dinner. The teens are punished and just given a potato (I know, I laughed too!), and the staff enjoy a beef stew, put on by their chef who may have bad intentions. Turns out the meat was bad, and after a night of throwing up and spurting all sorts of ooze, the staff wake up the next day as a sort of toxic zombie, and hunt the teens. For the next forty minutes, the teens scream and scream and fucking scream as the staff just sort of wobble around attempting to squeeze through doors. There is no real sense of danger, and the screaming will seriously test your patience, but there is a sense of silly fun here, and if you don’t take the film too seriously, you just might get caught up in the stupidity of it all, and have a laugh. The gore is laid on adequately, but not massively, and the horrible oozing slime like stuff adds some real dirty fun to the proceedings, and while no one here can really act scared, they do their best by screaming. Stupidity is the name of the game here, and we even hilariously witness one of the teens figure out just what the hell is going on. He dissects a dead dog, and while all the chaos is going on around him, finds time to figure out that the dogs heart is normal, yet its brain is deformed. He finds a piece of beef in its stomach and comes to the conclusion that it is “bad meat”. Yes, the film is that silly!
The opening to the film involves a patient in a hospital bandaged up like a mummy, with blood still oozing from his/her wounds, and this particular story intercuts with the main film time and again, and makes very little sense. I assume it is supposed to be a survivor, but it is never explained, and becomes more of an irritation as it continues to cut into scenes with close ups of the victims eyes. This hospital scene also provides the films bizarre and highly confusing conclusion, which again makes little, if any sense, and suddenly the film just ends. Bad editing, a terrible score and a baffling ending come close to spoiling the fun that can be had watching this film.