THE FARM is yet another in the long list of down-home cannibalism films that have sprung up in the wake of the original THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and its sequels, prequels, and reboots. Along the way, there’s been everything from MOTEL HELL to the more recent CANNIBAL FARM and WHAT THE WATERS LEFT BEHIND.
THE FARM takes a somewhat more surrealistic approach to the subject with its silent, animal-masked farmers/butchers. Writer/director Hans Stjernswärd seems to be trying to walk a line between a horror film and a vegan manifesto. Unfortunately, the “meat is murder” message tends to overwhelm the attempts at scares, and indeed at entertainment, most of the time.
Nora (Nora Yessayan) and Alec (Alec Gaylord) are a couple on a road trip. After stopping for the night at a hotel that should scare anyone with a double-digit IQ or an interest in hygiene off they wake up caged on a farm that specializes in human meat. Can they escape or will they end up as the main course in somebody’s catered dinner?
It’s hard to say what we’re supposed to make of THE FARM. On the one hand, it has a well-tested genre plot line and some distinctly nasty scenes. On the other hand, it has an almost glacially slow pace and overbearing message. Even those animal masks they wear, while creepy at first become annoying quickly. And on a practical note, anyone who has ever worn one can tell you can’t see worth a damn while wearing them and the elastic breaks easily. But these stay on no matter what and don’t stop them noticing anything going on.
It’s really to bad THE FARM misses the mark so badly because the film’s makers aren’t afraid to use confrontational imagery, like a woman hooked hooked up to a milking machine like a cow. Indeed several of the scenes in the middle of the film are unsettling. That part feels almost like a documentary at times, but it never sustains the creepy feeling.
Our leads are also missing for most of this part, which stalls the actual plot. But even when we go back to them for the inevitable escape attempt it feels dull because it’s all to obvious how the film has to end. It doesn’t help that some of the film’s publicity gave the ending away either.
THE FARM is available from Red Hound Films, which also released the much better take on this theme CANNIBALS AND CARPET FITTERS.