Thursday, January 2, 2014

Flesh Freaks

Flesh Freaks - 2000 - Canada - Zombie

Dir: Conall Pendergast

Flesh Freaks is another Sub Rosa Studios film.  It sports the typical Sub Rosa Releasing traits, the most common being nearly non existent production value.  This is what I consider a Z-Grade film.  Made on a budget of maybe just over $1000,  and amateur as all hell.  The camerawork is shoddy and shaky, often times shots are blurry, the lighting is all practical (meaning they didn't bother setting up lights), the sound varies in volume, some scenes are blown out and others are hard to hear.  Flesh Freaks is what you would expect from a bad student film.  Lousy editing and "acting" (if you could call it that).  Despite all these flaws, I happen to be someone who is very tolerant of these kind of movies, in fact I seek them out. I'm always hoping to find that Z-grade diamond in the dust.  Occasionally I do, Flesh Freaks, however, was not one of them.

This one gets off to a painfully slow start.  The plot focuses on a college student who returns from an archeology trip to Central America, bearing with him a deadly parasite that turns humans into flesh eating zombies, and spreads at a rapid pace.  This film takes ENTIRELY too long setting up the back story.  The first 50 minutes or so feel like they exist for the sole purpose of filling in the 79 minute time slot.  The first half of the film is chock full of boring conversations explaining the students trip to his friend, and pointless flashback shots of the jungle.

The jungle scenes are definitely not shot in Canada, although most of them look like they were taken straight from a tourist's camcorder.  Overly long shots of an Iguana eating fruit, tropical birds and palm trees, some with voice over and some without.  Just a very dull, sleep inducing watching experience.  I think the director of this film probably blew the majority of his budget on a trip to wherever he shot all this mind numbingly stupid footage.  Just when I was about to give up and turn this monotonous shit off, the film gets somewhat back on track, as zombies begins rising from the dead and attacking students in the college campus. 

The first almost cool kill scene happens in the college when a zombified science professor gets mutilated with a god damn plastic desk fan...Jesus Christ.  Unfortunately there wasn't any real gore to speak of, just shots of blood splattering on the walls and and running down the zombies' white lab coat.  A small crew of students in the college eventually meet up and fight off the zombies.  (pay no attention to the fact that the college is completely empty except for them and a couple of zombies.)

I was really hoping that this would finally be the films redeeming moments.  Maybe some good kills and gore?  That wasn't what I got.  Despite there being a couple of decent looking impalement's and such, most of the kills are total cop-outs. Very few feature anything but badly edited stabs, often the screen will even flash bright red during the moment of impact, then there will be some shots of blood spraying on the walls.  Booooring.  Perhaps the best thing about the kills was the objects used to dispose of the zombies.  I think the director literally went around the college campus, picked up random objects and said "What about this?  You could kill someone with this, right?"

 Flesh Freaks is a prime example of what you get when a couple of students get together with no money, no knowledge of film making and storytelling, and probably little familiarity of the zombie genre.  A real stinker.  Avoid it.

Boredom - 8/10
Blood n' Guts - 4/10
Action - 3.5/10
Camerawork/Lighting - 2/10
Acting - 2/10
Plot - 1/10
OVERALL - 2.5/10

A minute long shot of an Iguana eating fruit.........
 The well in the jungle from which the parasites came
 Decapitation with a desk fan.  I wasn't lying.
 A decent impalement.
 A zombie about to get faced with a broom handle.

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