31 Nights of Horror (#2) | 2017
On this episode of The Nightly Chill:
Cinematico Magnifico continues his search for late-night scares beyond the walls of The Last Video Store on Earth. Tonight, he comes across Australian comedic horror flick, Body Melt!
NOTE: All movies reviewed for “31 Nights of Horror” are currently available to stream in the US via Shudder, a horror-centric streaming service.
When a concerned employee of a shady pharmaceutical company attempts to reveal that an entire Australian suburb has been used as guinea pigs, he’s not only swiftly and violently silenced but the residents of Pebbles Court soon discover that their free dietary supplement pills have some seriously gruesome side-effects in Body Melt.
Body Melt, from director and co-writer Philip Brophy, is a delightfully crazed b-film that you would be forgiven for mistaking for one of Troma’s insane creations. The blood and body horror frequently comes by the barrel. The characters are colorful caricatures, with every actor’s performance cranked up to 10. And the movie floors it from the outset and doesn’t ease up on the gas until it crosses the finish line.
However, the path it takes to get there is quite literally all over the place.
Despite the film selling itself as something detailing the gruesome outcome of secret tests done on unsuspecting suburbanites, there’s very little time actually spent in the suburbs.
In fact, much of the movie takes place on either a remote farm in the Australian outback or a high-end spa that secretly doubles as the laboratory for the aforementioned and comically evil pharmaceutical company.
The movie also never spends too much time with a single character, with Brophy instead electing to jump from one to the next in fairly quick fashion, making the movie feel like a series of loosely connected vignettes.
And, to be fair, this works very much in favor of Body Melt. We get to know characters just enough before the movie goes about killing them off in creative, unsettling ways. No punches are pulled. No one is safe. And no stone is left unturned, as the movie hands out bits and pieces of backstory for the whole thing without ever bringing the movie to anything resembling a slow crawl.
It’s a high-energy, frantic experience. But it’s only one that masquerades as a mess rather than actually being one.
Now, as fun as the movie is from start to finish, it must also be said that this one isn’t for the squeamish or the easily offended. There are a number of disturbing images–as colorful and wacky as they may be at times–that, among other unsettling things, occasionally involve children.
But for those who can embrace the no-holds barred nature of a comedic horror film that aims to entertain and push limits–and certainly more so than to simply shock and offend–then Body Melt is easily worth CHILLING with.