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SCREAM FARM (2008)

-Review by Nic Brown-

 

Zombies! Horror fans and filmmakers alike love them. Whether they are slow walking, fast running, rage infected, or just plain reanimated necrotic tissue, they have been a popular source of horror entertainment for the years. Many independent filmmakers have brought their visions of zombies to life, no pun intended, and each one brings something a little different to the mythos. Writer/director Jim O’Rear entered the world of zombie horror with his film SCREAM FARM.

 

The title refers to a haunted house that some high school kids are creating on a farm in the rural Midwest. Local drug lord Sadler’s (Jim O’Rear) lackeys are forced to hide a batch of chemically enhanced pot in the Scream Farm haunted house to avoid being caught with it by the police. The kids find the stash and one of them decides to sample some of it for himself. Unfortunately for the teen and his family… and his neighbors, the chemical enhancement doesn’t make it a better high; it makes the people who smoke it turn into zombies. When Sadler and his gang have come looking for the dope, they instead find a zombie menace threatening them and the kids.

 

Jim O’Rear’s SCREAM FARM is a worthy addition to the zombie apocalypse genre. The zombies themselves are a strange mixed bag. Sometimes they seem completely mindless and lumbering, other times they are fast and somewhat intelligent with their use of weapons such as knives to dispatch their victims so they may feed. At one point a zombie even engages in a kung fu fight with one of Sadler’s gang. The zombies aren’t the only thing different about this film; Sadler and his gang are another interesting twist. The high school students, while obviously the ‘sympathetic’ protagonists of the film, are much less enjoyable to watch than Sadler’s gang members. Jim O’Rear mixes a sadistic side with a quick wit as the ruthless gang leader. Maria (Maria Kil) and Leo (Tim Alderman) are Sadler’s main enforcers. Maria is sexy and as quick to kill at Sadler’s command as she is to lose her top. She and Leo fight the zombies not only with firearms but with martial arts during a couple of scenes where they go head to head with the undead. The fights are well choreographed and make for an interesting change from the standard shoot them in the head or smash them with a stick modus operandi of the genre. At the end of the day, SCREAM FARM is another in the long line of zombie films that have come to life in recent years. However, it is enjoyable to watch O’Rear and his crew as they deal with the zombie problem, even if we’re supposed to be rooting for the teenagers.



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