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Return to Splatter Farm (2020) Review

After Shark Encounters of the Third Kind, you would think I’d had enough of Mark Polonia’s films, and I pretty much had. But considering the impact he and his brother John made with the original Splatter Farm, I had to review Return to Splatter Farm. Did Mark still have it in him to deliver something as twisted as his debut film? Could he do it without his brother and their partner, Todd Michael Smith? And after 33 years, would anybody care?

Return to Splatter Farm certainly opens on a promising note. A couple investigating the urban legends around the original find out that Jeremy (Jeff Kirkendall, Deadly Playthings, Frozen Sasquatch) isn’t a legend, and is still alive. This scene serves up more blood and actual effects than Polonia’s last five films combined.

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From here, the film drops into fairly familiar slasher territory. Bobbi (Danielle Donahue, Jurassic Prey, Muckman) has inherited the infamous farm. She and some friends Liz (Mel Heflin, Teacher Shortage, Hunters), Brad, (Nico Bryant), Daphne (Marie DeLorenzo, Amityville Island, Scarecrow County) and Gopher (James Kelly) are going to check it out with an eye towards selling it.

After the usual squabbling in the car and a stop at a general store filled with disapproving locals including Sheriff Jordan (Ken Van Sant, Queen Crab, Sharkenstein) they reach their destination. As they begin checking out the farm, and each other, someone is checking them out.

The original Splatter Farm was a fairly depraved piece of work. One where murder and incest were some of the least offensive goings-on. There’s some footage from the original worked into this film, but the sequel never comes close to matching the sleazy feeling of the original. Instead, directors Mark Polonia and Jeff Kirkendall, working from Kirkendall’s script, have fashioned a fairly decent, if conventional, slasher film. And, unlike most of Polonia’s recent output, Return to Splatter Farm does deliver some actual splatter and some skin.

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The effects, by Mark’s son Anthony Polonia, range from quite good to fairly awful. Granted, the two worst are the ones that tried to use CGI enhancement. The makeup isn’t bad but CGI flames in the flare gun scene and the lightning that strikes another character are, as expected, awful. Regardless of that, it’s still good to see some severed heads and spilled guts in a low budget slasher again.

Apart from the main cast, we get a few randoms who turn up at the farm to pad out the body count. Most noticeably, Cliff (Titus Himmelberger, Amityville Exorcism) and Gina (Jennie Russo, It Kills, House Shark)as a pair of townsfolk whose libidos get them killed. What did they expect trying to get laid at the Death Farm? Russo at least manages to have a long shower scene before meeting her fate, thus providing the genre’s obligatory shower killing.

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One big problem with Return to Splatter Farm is the film’s main set, the farmhouse. It’s supposed to have been abandoned since the killings. But it just looks cluttered and untidy. There’s none of the dust, let alone dirt, that you’d expect after all these years. Some dust and cobwebs would have gone a long way to giving the film some atmosphere.

For once though I can’t really complain, Polonia and Kirkendall have delivered a film that’s considerably better than the likes of Axegrinder 2 or Camp Blood 8: Revelations to name a couple. Whether Return to Splatter Farm is a return to form or just a fluke remains to be seen, however.

Return to Splatter Farm is available now on DVD and Digital from Wild Eye Releasing. You can check Wild Eye’s Facebook page for details.

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