– By Kriss Pickering
If I were to make a list of the things a 17 year old me spent my money on, it would be a fair bet that horror films and strip clubs would be high on that list! So if that younger version of me would have been presented with a horror film set in a titty bar, then he would have felt all his Christmases had come at once. Luckily, I’m not 17 any more, and the disappointment of 2012’s Zombies Vs. Strippers is still fresh in my mind, so I hope I could be forgiven not to get too giddy for director Sevé Schelenz’s horror/Zom-Com, Peelers.
Peelers follows a rag tag crew of Strip Joint employees working out their last night before the club closes for good, due to owner “Blue Jean” (Wren Walker) selling it to a shady business man. After a pretty uneventful start, the night starts to take a turn for the worse after a rowdy group of miners file into the club to celebrate the striking of what they believe to be oil! But being a horror film, this shit isn’t oil, and the miners start to become ill (as well as spreading the illness to other staff and patrons), turning them into seemingly unstoppable, bloodthirsty killing machines! This leaves Blue Jean to lead a group of survivors to battle the hoard and escape with their lives…
I’ve got to be honest, I was pleasantly surprised with this film. Director Schelenz could have really hidden behind the gratuitous nudity that a film in this setting will invariably have. Instead, along with talented screenwriter Lisa DeVita he has complemented it with a pretty decent survival horror that makes you root for its characters, including a cracking heroine (and strong female characters in general) in the form of the gritty Blue Jean.
While the writer and director team make a really good team, and get most things right with Peelers, I don’t feel they judged the pacing as well. It’s very top heavy, with the first act of the film being quite sparse. In fact, the vast majority is the strippers doing their dancers (not a bad thing, to be fair), with the character development taking place in the background. But there are some decent little story arcs going on that allow the story to flow.
Speaking of the characters and their arcs, writer DeVita has created some decent characters that have little intricacies and traits that foreshadow events that follow. For example, Blue Jean is an ex cop, which you just know will come into play later. There is also a new stripper who has a very overprotective boyfriend, as well as Jean’s son who it intimates has issues with the law. Unfortunately, the quality of the acting doesn’t always compliment the characters. The main exception is the brilliant portrayal of Blue Jean by Wren Walker. Although the character was brilliantly written, Walker’s performance makes Jean a character that you wont forget in a hurry!
The biggest negative though is the inconsistency of the special effects. One minute you are surprised by a brilliantly depicted decapitation, or someone vomiting unrealistic blood, the next someone appears on screen looking like a 5 year old on Halloween. I understand that films like this have a very limited budget, but this inconsistency really takes you out of the moment and doesn’t help you with the suspension of disbelief that you need for this sort of movie.
But if you can ignore these problems, and also ignore the logic issues and mind boggling layout issues with the club itself, then you have a film that by hook or by crook, will keep you entertained throughout. It’s not a film you would put on if you were planning a romantic night in with the other half, but get your mates around with a case of ale and some kebabs and you have the perfect party film!