Who will survive, and will there be leftovers?
A group of troubled teens are sent off to a jail-like facility in the middle of nowhere for…punishment, I guess? Their captors are a bunch of violent, disturbed, and possibly psychotic adults. When one of the guard dogs dies, a vengeful cook takes revenge on the staff and feeds them the dog’s diseased meat. This transforms the staff into mindless, zombie-like cannibals, leaving the disaffected teens with no one to rely on for their survival except each other.
In Bad Meat, director Lulu Jarmen and screenwriter Paul Gerstenberger are going for a “shock horror” vibe, with an emphasis on gore. The blood and guts fly freely, as do various other bodily fluids where bodily fluids do not belong. This especially includes vomit. This movie loves puke, and there’s a lot of screentime and even a plot point devoted to it. When not bloodying it up, the movie is sleazing it up. The, uh, camp counselors engage in kinds of kinky sex, and there are plenty of scenes of girls cavorting in their underwear.
The story, as you can imagine, is simplistic. The characters are broad strokes and actions lead from point-A to point-B just so the filmmakers can get to the next big gross-out set piece. There’s some attempt at a romance between two of the kids, but that’s about it as far as character development goes. The cast includes a few familiar faces, including Mark Pellegrino (Lost), Elisabeth Harnois (CSI) and Tahj Mowry, who you might remember from the Disney Channel’s ’90s series Smart Guy.
My biggest problem with the movie is the treatment of its villains. The jailers/counselors are depicted as monstrous evil right from the start, abusing the campers/prisoners in a variety of crude and disgusting ways. With them beginning this way, it’s almost redundant to have them transform into snarling monsters. Their transformation is just a slightly more extreme version of their already extreme personalities. If they had started out as caring, well-meaning professional then transformed into sinister monsters, then that could have been shocking, but that’s not the kind of shocking the movie is interested in.
Audio and video are good for a low-budget film, with a clean, crisp picture and vivid colors, most notably the blood reds. Sound in clean as well, so you’ll have no problem with the dialogue or effects. A trailer is it for extras.
Even a highbrow film snob like me can enjoy a great gore effect, but gore effects by themselves do not a movie make.