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Reviewed by: Dave Murray

Directed by: Charles Roxburgh

Matt Farley
Sharon Scalzo
Kevin McGee

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What's it about
Farley (Matt Farley) is just not right in the old noggin. He's been kept sheltered and oppressed by his strict father, and has grown up into the town freak, spying on nubile young girls in their bedrooms. That is, until he meets Scarlett (Sharon Scalzo), a sweet and funny girl, who leads Farley on adventures intimidating a ninja, getting Farley's tube back from the bearded hobo and exploring the cabin in the evil woods where Farley's mom died. But when they discover the awful truth about the woods and what lives there, well things get even more weird. If that is actually possible.
Is it good movie?

Anyone who knows me knows I love low budget horror comedies that never take themselves seriously and revel in the kind of over ripe cheese popular in the glut of terrible movies that were made on the cheap and by the hundreds in the 70's and early 80's. You know the ones: so terrible they are great fun to watch, so over the top that they make great party movies, and so bad that they are classics today. Sure some of them actually took themselves seriously, but that's beside the point. Freaky Farley took me back to those kind of movies. It has the look, feel and even the smell of cheap and over-acted horror movies that popped up to cash in on the success of such indies as Halloween and Friday the 13th. At first I didn't know what to make of it, as the cheesy DVD cover compares the movie to such 70's hits as Silent Night Deadly Night 2, Slumber Party Massacre 3 and The Worm Eaters. I thought, they can't be taking themselves too seriously. Anyone who'd champion their flick as being a nod to the "VHS Boom" of STV crap that we all love and enjoy has to have their tongues firmly in their cheeks, right?

Well, the movie itself is hilarious. The acting (or should I say over acting) is over the top, the situations are so gleefully random, the action is so hokey it's very very funny, and it's clear from the start that this one is so intentionally bad that everyone involved must have had a blast making it. If they had been taking themselves seriously, and been honestly making a movie to scare people, this would possibly be the worst movie ever, and I would be questioning the mental development of almost everyone involved. But since this is a comedy homage to cheap, badly made horror movies, it's very cleverly done and quite a fine achievement. The majority of the film's success rests on the shoulders of star, producer and co-writer Matt Farley, who has over reacting down to an art (love the eyebrow acting!). He seriously makes me want to see some of the other films he and director Charles Roxburgh have made together. These guys have talent, passion and a wicked sense of nutty humour that has become almost required to make decent indie movies these days. Also of stellar note in the cast is Sharon Scalzo, who breezes through her first movie with talent and in an excellently likable role. Her performance was one of the aspects that sold the movie for me. The facts that she gives solid delivery of her character and is quite beautiful all helped in creating a touching little love story for Scarlett and Farley. Kevin McGee is excellent and dry as Farley's strict and controlling father, and Tom Scalzo rocks as the moss covered, murderous Trogs that live in the woods! Great bit part, and responsible for some of the worst death scene acting I've ever seen. I loved every minute of it.

To call this movie silly and overwrought would be an understatement, and that's where it's charm lies. To call it random would seriously not do this zany flick any justice at all. I mean, I'm sure every town has harmless peeping toms, a ninja, haunted woods, Trogs, bearded hobos, the death of a female lead, and Farley eventually landing in an institution after just randomly jumping up and killing his father and a whole shitload of random folks. Yet when the Trog problem gets out of hand, threatening the Apple Bobbing Festival, the mayor enlists the aid of a very wacky special ops team: Farley, the only guy who has ever killed Trogs; The ninja, the only guy to take down Farley and there to keep him in line; and a seriously hot witch, played by Steff Deschennes (herself an acting first timer), who really is quite useless but the mayor has a thing for her. And to see Farley go off on the poor moss men, tearing them apart with his bare hands, now that was hilariously campy fun. One thing though. Farley kills people with a pumpkin carving knife, and seriously that's quite the cheesy choice for a murder weapon. Those things suck for carving pumpkins!

On the downside, the over acting does grate on the nerves after awhile, and some of the shots are not as solid as they could be, but these are small gripes. The film looks great for what it is trying to emulate. The film stock worked perfectly in capturing that '70's low budget feel, maybe helped with post work? The soundtrack was heavy on the organ and a hoot to listen too. But the sound went out of sinc about half way through the movie. Whether this was intentional, I'm not sure. Either way, it added to the excellent camp feel that was on display here. I even liked the shaky hand held look of some scenes, and the choppy, often crappy edits on the action bits, which when combined with Farley's antics made for some entertaining shit. This movie is definately a good time, as long as you get the joke. Fans of the crap movies that these guys are paying clever homage too will appreciate this one, no doubt. I sure enjoyed the hell out of it.
Video / Audio
Video: Widescreen - 1.78:1. The film stock was grainy and the transfer had that straight to video look that characterized campy horror movies for almost a decade. Nice use of effects to reproduce that look.

Audio: English (Dolby Mono 2.0). Like I said, the sound was choppy and terrible, and out of sinc for half the flick, which were all part of it's hilarious charm.
The Extras
We have a Making Of Featurette (30:00), that shows just how much fun these guys had making this movie. I was surprised that for many this was their first foray into acting. But then again, some of the performances were so over the top that if I didn't know this was intentionally campy I would think the whole cast and crew had never made a movie before in their lives. It was hilarious when the interviewees would say positive things about this being a real horror flick, and then ask Roxburgh if that was what he wanted them to say. So much like the fluff featurettes where actors talk up their seriously crappy, big budget films. Nicely done. It was also entertaining to learn more about Sharon Scalzo's totally random but quite funny "nude scene". The premiere stuff was also a nice bonus. I love seeing that stuff on an indie release. We also get the short Trailer for the film, as well as an add for Farley, Roxburgh and Scalzo's magazine Shockmarathons. It's an imoressive disc and presentation for an indie flick.
Last Call
Freaky Farley is a hell of a lot of fun, taking us back to the days when your local video store stocked piles and piles of crappy, F-grade movies, just because there was a demand for horror, no matter how campy and terrible. Where some of those early flicks took themselves so seriously it was pathetic, these guys cleverly lampoon the entire genre with style, wit and truck loads of over acting. Fans of low-to-no budget indie flicks should check it out. Also, fans of the crappy STV horror movies and lame sequels of the late 70's and early 80's will definately dig this flick. If you watch and think that this is a serious attempt and making a horror movie, you'd think it was the most retarded movie ever. And that is why it succeeds on every level with what it is trying to do. What it really is is a fun, entertaining and very tongue in cheek throwback to one of the overlooked, but most loved, periods of the horror genre. Great job indeed, and I can't wait for their next movie.
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT

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