A director using a pseudonym doesn’t fill you will confidence as you slide their latest offering into the DVD player. In this case its Rob ‘Wrong Turn’ Schmidt who has removed his name from this gorefest after it ran into trouble (or out of money) during filming way back in 2008.
The film has a pretty simple premise whereas a group of surly teens are sent away to a boot camp (Camp Hardway) in the middle of nowhere, where they are to be whipped into shape and taught some much needed respect for their peers. The film is bookended however by a scene in a hospital room where there lies a very heavily bandaged patient. Who are they, and also what caused injuries so bad that one nurse comments “I know a couple of paramedics who still can’t keep down their lunch” after rescuing them.
Meanwhile at the boot camp we meet Tyler (Dave Franco) who is about to fall victim to the heavy handed and somewhat masochistic camp leader Thomas, who sports a very Hitler-esque moustache. Thomas soon takes a dislike to Tyler, and aware of his claustrophobia he decides to give him a warning by dragging him out to the camp’s equivalent of ‘the hole’ to make the point that if he tries anything then his worst fears will be met. The next morning Tyler is woken in his bed by one of the camp counsellors urinating on him. Fifteen minutes into the movie and we’re under no illusions as to the methods being undertaken by these people.
As the film moves on we’re introduced to other ‘inmates’ like Rose (Elizabeth Harnois), a firebug, who in her first counselling session with Thomas is unceremoniously told she’s a “whiny little bitch”, but as for other characters backgrounds we’re kept a little bit in the dark. Before we know it things are going a little haywire (both at the camp and in the script!) with a dubious meal cooked for supper that seems to be having a decidedly grim after effect on those that have consumed it. In the films grossest scene two of the counsellors are seen to be having some unbridled leather bound intimacy, when mid-way through they both proceed to vomit all over each other. Before we know it, a taste for human flesh has been developed, and the kids soon find themselves with a risk of being devoured!
Any film that carries the label of ‘production problems’ will most likely feel disjointed, and Bad Meat is no exception. However, that’s not to say that this isn’t worth a look. The gore is on the early Peter Jackson level of Braindead and Bad Taste and is gloriously gag-worthy with the make-up effects being just great. The last 25 minutes are total unhinged madness which was much needed after a slightly laboured first half. The main gripes with the film are the horror / comedy aspect – it’s just not particularly funny, and also the scenes that bookend the film seem very much of a rushed afterthought, done in order to get a finished product. Overwhelmingly though, Bad Meat carries an air of frustration with it simply due to us not being able to know how decent it could have been, and I suspect that given the money it would have become a cult classic.