08th Aug2019

‘Maniac Farmer’ VOD Review

by Dom Hastings

Stars: Jake Roark, Jeremy Snead, Alexander Davis, Tyler Caldwell, Hannah Davis, Tyler Ward, Jake Mosley, Matt McNew, Cody Gay, Deanna Karr, Opal Williams | Written and Directed by Matthew Williams

Manic-Farmer-poster

God damn, those redneck farmers…

Written and directed by Matthew Williams, the world of low-budget horror has a new addition: Maniac Farmer. A film mixing the crazy with the crazier in under 90 minutes.

Opening immediately with a ‘Maniac Farmer’ theme song and the farmer himself (Jake Roark), there is an instant presentation of a creepy redneck (trucker hat and overalls) living at home, slaving himself to his mummy – how delightful. If Maniac Farmer could be divided into thirds character-wise, you would have: the talkative cop duo, Lenhardt (Jeremy Snead) and Dunigan (Alexander Davis), in pursuit of villainy; the murderous Blasphemousrex (Tyler Caldwell) with his goons; and the mysteriously slow savage, the farmer. Eventually crossing ties, B-Rex causes nothing but trouble with a squad of goons almost resembling the vampire gang in The Lost Boys and Droogs in A Clockwork Orange. Causing havoc and horror left, right and centre, cops are hot on B-Rex’s trail, leading the murderous gang ending up in a place far worse than they could imagine in their drug-fueled fantasies: the house of the maniac farmer.

Jake Roark, a man of little words, but big presence, is terrific as the farmer. There is a calmness in his approach to every action throughout Maniac Farmer. It can be argued that the likes of Michael Myers and Jason Vorhees presented calm-yet-killer approaches – Roark’s farmer is more terrifying. The former pair preserve their character with a mask, whereas Roark’s farmer will pose without emotion having mutilated an individual on the other side of ‘creeps and crime. Established early on during a parallel edit with B-Rex’s wild driving, there is a mystique surrounding the farmer, suggesting that less is more on this occasion.

Sticking with ‘creeps and crime’, the character of Blasphemousrex – despite the great name – is an insufferable d*ck, but that’s great because we subsequently want him to be punished b y the farmer. When B-Rex transcends from being dangerous to being in danger, Tyler Caldwell has the magnificent ability in transitioning his character’s whole demeanor, almost making you contemplate whether he is portraying a new character. In doing this, the hollowness of B-Rex is on display as well as Caldwell’s fine talents.

Fine acting talents are not the only successes on show as, pleasantly and surprisingly, Maniac Farmer manages to transcend between varying horror tropes, therefore establishing an exciting, yet somewhat unpredictable horror which encourages the viewer to engage further. Transitioning between freak horror to psychological horror is great entertainment.

Under Williams’ vision, there is often a binary of violence being either subtle or explicit. Subtlety in horror can often be more powerful than excessive gore in that the audience knowing what will happen (or has happened) to a character can be more effective a presentation of explicitness, resulting in the viewer simply turning away. On the flipside however, some of the violence within Maniac Farmer is really violent and explicit – content which would be unlikely to feature in anything rated lower than 18.

Ultimately, Maniac Farmer is a delightful low-budget horror, and awesome alternative to many contemporary franchise horrors. Produced on a budget of roughly $2000, the film manages to surpass any low expectations of quality some viewers may have. An obvious green screen aside, Maniac Farmer establishes itself as a somewhat authentic-looking film, adding to its legitimate creepiness. As a film overall, there is a slight ambiance that there is an intention for Maniac Farmer to be of cult status, and there is a feeling that this horror could very well be on its way to achieve that.

From having its own theme song to having an accent-varying antagonist named Blasphemousrex, Maniac Farmer is a weird, crazy and intriguing horror, deserving of your viewing.

*** 3/5

Maniac Farmer is available now on Prime Video and Vimeo on Demand from Bounty Films.

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