Review: PEELERS (2016)
Genre films, burlesque houses, and strip clubs have always been a popular combination. From H.G. Lewis’s The Gore-Gore Girls and Ron Ormonds, The Monster And The Strippers, exploitation directors have used it as an easy way to work plenty of bare skin into a film.
One particular combination that becomes especially popular is zombies vs strippers, from Zombie Strippers with horror and porn icons Robert Englund and Jenna Jameson to the subtly titled Japanese entry Big Tits Zombie and the disappointingly tame Fetish Factory there seems to be a never-ending supply of them. Now, director Sevé Schelenz (Skew) gives us Peelers. Can he make it stand out from the crowd and deliver the cinematic lap dance we’ve been waiting for?
A brief prologue gives us an idea of what to expect, (it also features one of the most imaginative “fade to black” transitions I’ve seen in a long time) We then meet Blue Jean (Wren Walker) a former baseball player now a young widow raising her constantly in trouble son Logan (Madison J. Loos, The Tooth Fairy), she also runs a small-town strip club. But it’s all about to change, tonight she’s selling the club to finance a new start for the two of them somewhere far away.
Of course, it’s not going to be that easy. Logan’s antics have brought the cops to the club. One of the girls is having issues with a jealous boyfriend. And a group of miners has come in to celebrate, one of them with a very odd injury. Of course, the miner’s wound is contaminated. After puking up immense quantities of some black fluid, he turns into a zombiesque killing machine and begins spreading the infection.
After kick-starting things with the prologue and opening credits laced with several sets of breasts to let us know it means business, Peelers slows down for a bit and establishes the characters. Writer Lisa DeVita does a great job of fleshing them out without being dull or resorting to on the nose dialogue.
From Remy (Caz Odin Darko, Evil Exhumed) the bouncer with a badly hidden crush on his boss to the feisty Baby / Elaine (Nikki Wallin, Camp Death III in 2D!, Android Night Punch) whose act delivers one hell of a surprise. It’s especially refreshing that the girls are not lazy stereotype bimbo strippers, they’re solid characters with personalities and intelligence.
Once the killing starts, the film delivers the goods. There’s some bad CGI blood spray, but most of the effects are not only solid but pretty creative. A three-way killing in the VIP room involving decapitations and a lap dance made my jaw drop. Peelers has a high body count and lays the blood on thick. The film may be low budget, but it puts it all on the screen.
Peelers cast deserves praise for delivering solid performances and getting into the spirit of the film. Wren Walker is a star waiting to be discovered. She gives an incredibly badass as well as hot ass performance in the lead. Wallin manages to get the sexy/kinky/feisty vibe down perfectly. And Darko, (not sure if he’s related to Donnie or not) is touching as the smitten big guy.
How good is it? Good enough that I’m no fan of found footage films, but I’m still going to hunt up a copy of Schelenz’s first film, Skew. Peelers won and was nominated for a ton of awards during its festival run, and it deserves them. This is one to watch out for. And don’t turn it off at the credits, there’s a great epilogue that answers the film’s running question. And gives us the look at Wren we spent the film hoping for.
Peelers is available on DVD, streaming and digital from Uncork’d Entertainment.