‘Peelers’ is Self-Aware B-Movie Magic (Review)
Directed by: Sevé Schelenz
Cast: Wren Walker, Caz Odin Darko, Madison J. Loos
Sometimes a break from the intensity of the genre is called for, and Peelers is exactly the kind of movie to provide fine relief. It’s got its comedic moments, it’s loaded with plenty of T&A, a ton of cheesy punchlines and a conflict resolution that M. Night Shyamalan would be awfully proud of. The best part? Peelers knows exactly what it is, and never pretends to be pretentious, carefree or even lazy. There’s a lot of effort in this little production, the effort just so happens to be split up, in part designed to disgust, in part designed to appeal to a man’s libido and in part to flat out shock, and somehow it succeeds on all fronts.
Sassy and sexy Blue Jeans (I’m sorry but where in the world did super hottie, Wren Walker come from?) runs a dive bar that draws more money from horn-dogs looking for a few cute girls stripping on stage than the bar or the kitchen, but she takes pride in her establishment. As you can imagine, it pays the bills. But it can’t pay the bills if the patrons are dead. And believe this: they start dropping like flies when four miners show up, infected by some strange (there’s a sub-plot that works to explain the troubles these strippers and bouncers face, but it’s better left discovered on film than in writing) oil they’ve discovered in the local coal mine.
Initially these guys have no idea that they’ve contracted a life changing disease of some sort. In fact, they hit the bar to celebrate, because they’re thinking they’re going to turn that oil discovery into a hefty payday. Instead that “oil” turns them into raving, murderous lunatics with absurd strength, black muck spewing from their mouths and, and an upgrade to near-immortal status. As they slaughter their way through the dive, the other patrons become infected. It all goes to Hell in a hand basket and only a few employees are present to defend their turf.
Peelers (I’m still scratching my head at the title) is whacky, disgusting fun. The cheese-ball lines are great. We can hear them long before they’re uttered, but they’re worth many a chuckle just the same. Some of the special effects (the bulk of which are practical) are great and a few of the stripper gags are golden (don’t rush to turn the film off when the credits roll, there’s a priceless surprise in waiting). There are a small handful of likable characters (did I mention Blue Jeans is stunning?) and the kind of absurdity that makes a great B-movie a great B-movie, and a B-movie fan a B-movie fan.
With a few surprisingly refined performances sprinkled in the often-sketchy mix we get a little bit of everything respect-worthy – from this particular sub-genre, I should add – and endearing about low budget genre fare. We want it nasty, we want it funny – both intentionally and otherwise – and we want to be thoroughly entertained. Peelers is the kind of bat-shit crazy that hits all the perfect pitches, shall we say. It’s no A-list blockbuster, and it’s admittedly limited in fiscal terms, but it’s insane fun right out of the gate, and in this mind, sometimes that’s all that really matters.
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