Film Review: Fresh Meat (2012)

SYNOPSIS:

A dysfunctional gang of criminals invade the home of a middle class Maori family and take them hostage. But this seemingly normal family has a deep, dark secret and when the fugitives discover the home abattoir, the tables are turned and the hunters become the hunted. There’s fresh meat for dinner (washed down with a nice Chianti of course).

REVIEW:

Fresh Meat is exactly what a movie should be, fun and entertaining. The plot, which at first is unoriginal but makes bold moves halfway through the movie, sucks you in and holds you there until the end credits roll. This New Zealand movie really plays out as a cross between The Strangers and The Cook. Although this movie is amusing and suspenseful at the same time it does have a few flaws, but nothing awful enough to derail the film.

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The movie starts off with a young woman, in an all girl’s school, practicing a dance, and making a new friend in the showers afterwards. We come to find out that this young lady is Rina (Hanna Tevita), the oldest child of the Crane family. Next we see her at an airport being picked up by her father, Hemi (Temuera Morrison). Then the movie flips a switch from a heartwarming family reunion of father and daughter to a group of people, a crack head, a sadistic woman, and a terrible expositions expert, trying to break ruthless murderer Paulie Tan (Ralph Hilaga) out of the back of a prison transport vehicle. Things get bungled up and a whole mess ensues. The order of these scenes in the beginning of the movie throws you for a loop and doesn’t put you in the correct mindset. You go from what could have been a p*rn scene, to a touching family scene, to finally an all out action scene. This gets you very disoriented, I know that it was all different ways to introduce the characters and their relation to each other, but gentler transitions could have worked out a little better.

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Both stories intersect when the group that pulled the jail break needs a place to hide, so they drive into an open garage that just so happens to be the Crane’s residence, with father, mother, daughter and son all inside. The whole thing turns into a hostage situation. When the groups interact with one another it usually ends with a comical situation. Then the movie turns to a darker side when the hostages fight back and you start to revel some of the secrets that they have been trying to hide. The movie really could have been an hour long and still have been a solid film, but it’s the last half hour that really puts it over the top. Once the family takes control of the house again, then they start on one another and it leads to the suspenseful thrilling final act.

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One of the biggest things this movie has going for it, is that it feels loose, like they had fun making it and had fun working with each other. This is differently transferred on to the screen. Also the acting of Temuera Morrison is fantastic; you believe that he really believes in his religious savior, that Sullivan Smith is going to help him fix everything. If you think that Temuera looks familiar, you might have seen him in From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman’s Daughter, but it’s probably more likely that you saw him as Jango Fett in Star Wars Episode II. Another thing that helps this movie is the use of practically effects, instead of all CGI. This makes the movie feel more real, and doesn’t interrupt your focus, like badly done CGI can sometimes do.

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There can’t be good without the bad. The comedy is well done, not trying to force it and not inserted at the wrong times, so that’s not it. The effects, for the most part, are well done and not over the top, so not that either. This being a foreign film usually means accents, and this film had some, put the plot drew you in to the point where you hardly even noticed, so that was okay. The only thing I really had a problem with was the sound. The dialogue was hard to hear, making you turn up your volume, making the background noises booming when they happen. But that’s really the only thing I have to complain about with this movie.

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This horror comedy delivers on both fronts making a fun movie that can make you jump a couple of times. I would recommend this movie to anyone looking for a witty little foreign film, and watch for it, because it will be making its American release on January 14, 2014. It really makes you think about all the good horror comedies that are coming from other countries. So if you get a chance to see this one and like it then here are a few other foreign films you might want to look up; Night of the Living Dorks, Bio Zombie, and Freakout (don’t worry they are all dubbed in English).

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