Fresh Meat: Movie Review

Fresh Meat: Movie Review

Cast: Temuera Morrison, Kate Elliot, Nicola Kawana, Hannah Tevita
Director: Danny Mulheron

You just can't beat this mad butcher's meat.

In the latest horror-come-comedy outing for NZ film, it's off to the kitchen with a dash of exploitation and a pinch of pulp thrown in for good measure.

After a jailbreak from a security van, a gang of criminals end up on the run and in a house owned by Temuera Morrison's associate professor, Hemi and his celeb chef wife, Margaret (Kawana).

However, the family's just got their daughter Rina (Tevita) back from her all-girls school (wink, wink - according to the film) and into the bosom of her meat loving whanau.

But Hemi and Margaret have a secret to share with their daughter - they've discovered the joys of human flesh. And when the crooks crash the dinner party, the family decides it's time they were on the menu.

What can you say about Fresh Meat?

It's probably destined for cult status, with echoes of Tarantino from its slow-mo ultra-violent shoot out at the start, and its sleazy eye on exploitation right from the start as the camera lingers on Rina as she enjoys a shower with one of her fellow school girls.

But to my mind, I don't think it goes far enough and as a result ends up feeling more like a mixed stew than a gourmet meal. It's fairly clear that this occasionally vulgar film's tongue is firmly in its cheek, but by holding back on some of the gore and not going the whole hog, this finger-licking cannibal flick ends up being a bit of a damp squib rather than a full on festival of Kiwi film. Certainly after the initial guts and gore opening, it appears to run a little out of steam as it becomes confined to the hostage house of Hemi and the gang, losing its energy, bite and undeniable fizz.

It's a shame because it's gloriously OTT (and rightly so), mixing in violence, social commentary, some hammy acting (Witness Tem licking his lips salaciously when he spies one of the criminals' wound) and some solid performances. Elliott and Tevita have good solid meaty roles and show some acting chops. Tevita, in particular, gives us a great in and emotional centre as the decidedly non-PC action plays out.

Morrison's fine, offering up some good one-liners and acerbic comments, but his final ascent into insanity goes too OTT - and his final shot appearance hints at the hamminess and cult potential this film has.

Overall, Fresh Meat isn't bad - deliberately trashy, tasteless and unPC but just a little hamstrung by its own constraints. If it had had a little more  punch to be seasoned in with its black humour, knowing winks to Maori life and horror credentials, it could have been a real entry into the Kiwi cult cinema canon.




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