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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Review: 100 Acres of Hell

Director: Hank Leigh Hump, Lisa Lakeman, and Ernest O’Donnell
Screenplay: Jason L. Koerner, Ed McKeever, and Gene Snitsky
Year: 2019

The ex-professional wrestler Gene Snitsky has decided to try his luck in the cinema world, where other ex-wrestlers have been so successful, starting with legends such as Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant to contemporary stars like The Rock and John Cena. Alongside him, another ex-wrestler, Samula Anoa’i, better known by his in-ring name Samu, and a member of the successful Samoan wrestler family where names like Roman Reigns, Rikishi, and The Rock are part of, joins this effort. Having two ex-wrestlers with successful careers in this sport suggests that the movie will have good confrontation scenes and stunts, but nothing further away from reality. 

“100 Acres of Hell” follows Buck Severs, interpreted by Snitsky, who is a professional wrestler forced to retire by an injury. He goes on a hunting road trip trying to spend some time with his friends and to clear his mind from his actual issues. Once in the campsite, they become the prey of the hunt while they are stalked by a sadistic killer that roams around the place.

The movie handles itself like a slasher movie, where the first half is devoted to establish the characters, the situation and to give some brush-strokes to what the killer, who they will inevitably have to face, is capable of. In this first half, the script by Jason L. Koerner (“Pembrook”), Ed McKeever (“Blood Lodge”), and Gene Snitsky presents Severs’ friends and develops them as horror movie clichés. One of them is so obnoxious that in a few minutes after meeting him you are already rooting for his quick and graphic death.

The tension is something that starts to be developed since the first half. In part it is achieved through the dialogue and visuals, anticipating what will happen, but also using cheap jump scares that are not so successful at their task. Some comedy is also tried to be established in the way of one-liners, but they come out as too rehearsed to be effective. Only the music is saved, which is interesting, but in parts is too present and ends up being a distraction. 

Once the second half of the movie approaches and the killer starts to roam around, we get another disappointment, and it's that most of the deaths take place off-screen and the gore is almost non-existent. The action scenes when something interesting takes place are edited in a way in which every frame only exists for some scarce seconds before shifting to the next one, making it way too difficult being able to understand and appreciate what is happening, and the acting does little to make things best.

In the final sequences of the movie, we get some unexpected twists and revelations. The problem with these twists and revelations is that they have little coherence with what is shown in the rest of the movie and the effort taken to make them feel unexpected ends up causing them to be illogical and to appear out of the blue with no build-up. After the killer is revealed is hard not to feel frustrated to see such a great concept being so underused. 

“100 Acres of Hell” is an idea with plenty of wasted potential and that ends up being a frustrating experience for what it could have been. It falls victim to trying to follow the horror slasher formula, just that the spot of the final girl belongs to a huge 300 pounder (136 kg) ex-wrestler, which guarantees a frenetic final confrontation, but that ends up offering more than what it delivers, as what happens with the rest of the movie. The gore, that is one of the most important parts of slasher movies is very limited and leaves the sensation that this could have been its strongest point. 

“100 Acres of Hell” is distributed by Indican Pictures and will be available in selected teachers on October 8 and in digital platforms on October 15, 2019.

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