27th Jun2013

‘Bad Meat’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Jessica Parker Kennedy, Elisabeth Hartnois, Dave Franco, Mark Pellegrino, Taj Mwohry | Written by Paul Gerstenberger | Directed by Lulu Jarmen


Bad Meat stars Jessica Parker Kennedy from the Kevin Williamson created The Secret Circle, in a low-budget splatter flick, scripted by an Englishman and lensed in Canada, playing a tough-as-nails teenager who, along with a group of her peers (which include Dave “brother of James” Franco amongst their number), are subjected to the indignities of a correctional camp for troubled teens. I say indignities because this camp is run by a Hitler-loving racist camp leader and his merry band of twisted staff, who think of nothing to masturbate each other in the corridors of the camp and piss on their charges to wake them up in the morning!

Bad Meat is, by it’s writers own admission, not an entirely successful film. Apparently shorn of it’s original ending, and with an all-new hospital set opening and close shot after the fact, the film is – for the most part – another entry in the small canon of melt movies (a la Street Trash and Body Melt), with enough blood, gore and vomit to fill the movies brief runtime. It’s also, thanks to the new open and close, a strange, I’d said almost avant-garde film with no clear conclusion and a myriad of questions left unanswered.

Taking ideas of mad cow disease, mistreatment of animals meant for the food chain and the scare stories about unhygienic processing plants to an extreme conclusion, the film sees the camp counsellors all come down with what looks to be food poisoning thanks to some titular Bad Meat given to them for lunch by the camp handyman-come-chef. Only it turns out it is more than food poisoning, a lot more, and comes with one rather distinct side-effect: It turns people into mindless cannibals intent on eating their own kind. Hence the already despicable counsellors are now not only  intent on making the lives of their charges hell, but also want to eat them!

Even if you didn’t already know, it’s obvious from just watching the film that, besides the new sequences tacked on post-completion, the movie had also had entire sequences cut from it. Reportedly the more successful mid-section was shorn of a woodland set sequence which saw Parker Kennedy’s teen injured and another killed, which meant that two later scenes – featuring Parker Kennedy tending to her injuries and one of the now-cannibalistic counsellors chomping on a jawbone – were confusing and felt totally out of place.

Originally lensed in 2008 by Rob ‘Wrong Turn’ Schmidt (here under the pseudonym Lulu Jarmen), Bad Meat sat on the shelf unfinished for a number of years and was only completed in 2011 – with the new opening and confusing open-ended conclusion – after it’s young cast, including the aforementioned Parker Kennedy and Dave Franceo and their co-star in the film, V’s Elizabeth Hartnois, became more “bankable” names thanks to their popular outings in other movies and television…And it’s taken a further two years for the film to surface on DVD here in the UK (which says a lot to be honest).

Not a truly bad film by any means, but given more time, a bigger budget and a few reshoots (of the original script) Bad Meat could be a great film. As it is now it’s decidedly average.

Bad Meat is out now on DVD from Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment.

*** 3/5

2 Responses to “‘Bad Meat’ Review”

  • Karen

    Mark Pellegrino has said that only half of the movie was filmed before they ran out of money.

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