Bad Meat - Review
Bad Meat is the result of messed up production and a lack of adequate funding. The movie was released around two years ago in the U.S. but only now has it found its way over to Europe. There's a reason for the long delay: it's unfinished. After filming most of the movie back in 2007 it was put on hold, only to lose its director and then turn up finished some time in 2011. I use the term "finished" rather loosely because Bad Meat isn't a complete film.
For a rather low budget fare the cast is surprisingly recognisable: Dave Franco, Elisabeth Hanois and Mark Pellegrino are all relatively successful TV and film actors, and the rest of the cast aren't complete strangers either. The film has Franco playing a troubled teen sent to a juvenile detention centre. Whilst there, the evil staff become infected with a disease that causes them to expel all their bodily fluids before transforming into weird animal-zombies. Think Boot Camp mixed with zombie horror, along with a healthy dose of bile and gore, and you're not that far off. In terms of the gross-out that's on offer, the film is not that bad. It'll make you cringe, and those with a weak stomach need not apply.
Even the acting is pretty solid; the cast is likable enough (more so than the horrible people in Cabin Fever, which the DVD cover compares this to), and the script even manages to sneak in some broad brush characterization. There's some oddball moments mind, the staff all appear to be shagging one another whenever they get the chance, and the camp's leader, played by Pellegrino, is a creepy pervert who styles himself like Hitler. It's certainly bizarre but isn't all that jarring next to the buckets of daft gross-out on offer.
When the staff initially transform into monsters there's some scenes that don't look all that great, and could have done with some better editing. Since the film lacks any decent special effects, the actors playing zombie-monsters occasionally come across as laughable rather than threatening...although there's also the possibility that was the intention. Once they're covered in gore though (which doesn't take all that long) they do the job well enough. Speaking of editing, some earlier scenes could have been cut, simply to save us some of the dialogue, which manages to be both weird and boring at the same time.
The problem is that the film abruptly ends about eighty minutes in. It's all going pretty well, we're heading into the final portion of the movie and...bam...the film wraps up with a nonsensical ending that's poorly lit. The reason for this is that the film's budget ran out, and things got even worse once the original director jumped ship. To try to make up for this there's a framing device added to try and glue all the film footage together; during the opening sequence we see the only survivor stuck in a hospital bed covered in bandage, who proceeds to type out the events that transpired on a computer.
The idea seems to be that we're left wondering which character has survived, but since the film cuts between all of the teens at different points, and they're not always together, unless the survivor is some kind of telepath then it makes zero sense. What's more the film keeps cutting back to the survivor in some atrocious editing which manages to ruin other parts of the movie.
Considering all of this, it's rather difficult to review a movie like Bad Meat. We don't know how things would have ended, and Dave Franco, who is technically the film's main character, manages to be locked in some kind of shed for most of the runtime. What makes it so frustrating is that the vast majority of the movie (minus the terrible opening sequence) is actually rather enjoyable. It's characters might be your usual stereotypes but they're better established than those in similar films. For fans of gross-out horror I would recommend Bad Meat, albeit with a caveat that you'll be thoroughly disappointed by how it all ends.
Bad Meat was released, in the UK, on June 17th.
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