The students of Sloppy Seconds High School are getting ready to participate in their charity event, the 24-hour Famine. Even though 5 years ago when the event was first attempted, a teacher was gravely injured. That was then and this is now, and the students and some of the faculty decide it's worth trying again. Though not everybody is in favor of the event as someone is dressed up as the school mascot, The Nailer, and is picking participates off one by one. If the students don't end up killing each other from hunger and being locked up in the school, then the madman wandering the halls will.
It's finally here. Thankfully, since I didn't think I was going to make it. When I thought I had finally reached my limit and started tying the silk stockings around my neck while I stood in the closet, it appeared -- a screener for Ryan Nicholson's latest movie, "Famine". While the wait between Plotdigger Films feels excruciating it always feels worth it once you get your greasy, grubby mitts on the latest and greatest from Nicholson and Co. And the final product of "Famine" was certainly worth the wait.
After making rape-revenge disturbing again, blooding up Chinatown and a bowling alley, somehow making a garbage dump feel even more filthy and showing the dangers of b-movie filmmaking, Ryan has set his sites on high school. Local school Sloppy Secondary is getting ready to hold a charity event; a 24-hour Famine. Even though the last time the school tried this event, it ended in tragedy as a popular teacher became horribly disfigured after some acid accidentally fell on him. But hey, that was 5 years ago and everyone who was at the event last time can barely remember the smell of melting flesh. Except someone hasn't forgotten and that someone is picking the students off one by one while dressed as the school mascot, The Nailer.
Yes, it certainly sounds like a clichéd slasher plotline; high school location, disfigured teacher, horny teenagers that are complete bastards and an unknown killer picking victims off one at a time. It would be easy to assume that "Famine" is nothing but another movie, in a long line of recent releases, that are doing nothing more than rehashing genre staples. Except for the fact that this is a Plotdigger Films production and that can only mean one thing: balls-out horror. Ryan has never been one to shy away from gore, sex and bad taste and he certainly doesn't with "Famine".
The classic slasher setup and the sub-genre in general, gets pushed further than it has been before with "Famine" as the traditional elements are amped up and are sent over-the-top. As our dissolute teens are dispatched, horror fans are treated to some of the most gore-soaked death scenes imaginable in a slasher film. A stabbing with a butcher knife? Bah! Too easy. How about a railroad spike through the skull with a fountain of blood instead? Or perhaps a brutal throat slashing that almost results in a decapitation? Certainly some will snub their noses at the over-the-top nature of the kills, but I think most blood thirsty horror fans will bask in the movie's grisly nature and vividly graphic moments.
"Famine" proudly shows off the blood, the gore and FX that Plotdigger Films has become known for. Nobody will walk away disappointed, that's for sure. But what is a Ryan Nicholson movie without gross-out humor and comedy that's in bad taste? Well, it's not a Ryan Nicholson movie is what it is. Just as "Famine" delivers the gory goodness, it also brings the crude and even dark humor that was prevalent in past titles, like "Hanger". Of course with a movie's character list consisting of horny teenagers, the vulgar sex jokes, gags and puns run rampant in the blood drenched halls of Sloppy Secondary.
Sometimes silly and other times morbid, "Famine" is a clear demonstration of Nicholson's style of making his movies his way and refusing to apologize for it. Because of that, I find it hard to do a standard critique on his work; I never go into his movies worrying about how good or bad the acting might be, the quality of the narrative, etc. It's more or less about how entertaining the movie is and "Famine" is very entertaining. Whether its making the ravenous horror fans cheer for the gruesome acts, making them laugh from the often ludicrous scenarios or making everyone uncomfortable by openly embracing the idea of bad taste. However, with that being said, I think it is worth acknowledging "Famine" also shows Ryan's progression as a filmmaker by featuring probably the slickest production Plotdigger has produced yet. With excellent cinematography, gothic-Italian inspired lighting and coloring and cohesive flow in carnage and mayhem, Plotdigger's gory-horror style is looking pretty goddamn sexy if I do say so. And I do.
I'm glad I was fortunate enough to have a chance to see "Famine" now as opposed to later, and with it's first release coming up on the horizon from Germany. I have to recommend folks to hold off as the initial release will be cut, as usual, but if you can manage to wait it out and see the movie in its full uncut glory, you will not be disappointed. Guaranteed.