Former high profile wrestler Buck Sever finds himself in a world of personal hurt. After a family tragedy and a derailing injury, Sever’s stuck in what’s left of his life with not much reason or motivation to pick himself back up. High school friend Trent Masters organizes a bros weekend on an urban legend infamous game preserve called Foggy Creek for some drinking and hunting, but even his so-called friends exploit his celebrity status to attract women and gain personal benefit. They spot themselves right in the heart of the game preserve said to be notorious for backwoods murders committed in the 1960’s at the hands of local legend Jeb Tucker. Blowing off the mystery shrouding Foggy Creek, the four friends soon find themselves face-to-face with a mask killer with immense strength that equals Sever’s and there’s no stopping his onslaught of spilling weekend warrior blood.
Wrestling is a multi-billion dollar global juggernaut with a fan base like no other and as an industry has seen a steady increase in popularity that spans over decades. The sports iconic wrestlers are idolized by many adoring fans who hold up supportive signage at matches, imitate their trademark finishing moves with friends on makeshift rings, and even sport their merchandise while throwing out their favorite wrestlers’ memorable gestures. The sport has been become so engrained into our culture, movies like Mickey Rourke’s “The Wrestler,” that show the downtrodden life of a has-been wrestler, can be nominated and win major studio awards, such as an Oscar or a Golden Globe, and wrestlers have been seeping into the film industry that’s now at a raging pace where the professional body slammers are some of the highest paid actors, such as the established Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and John Cena. However, not every wrestler can be a glamourous super-stud in the cinematic universe. That’s the case with “100 Acres of Hell” directed by Hank Leigh Hump and starring 6’8″ Gene Snitsky and Samula “Samu” Anoa’i. Produced and penned by Snitsky, co-written alongside with Ed McKeever (“Bikini Girls Vs.The Surf Wolf”) and Jason Koerner (“Zombie Death Camp”) to enthrall a survival, campsite horror set and shot in the rural backyards of Pennsylvania.
Snitsky, retired from professional wrestling in 2018, turns to acting late in his career with his entry into the indie circuit. He portrays Buck Severs, a gargantuan man in a tragic life slump, whose seems like a harmless, gentle giant with a group of eccentric and callous group of friends that treat him poorly despite their best intentions. Snitsky’s has moments of genuine truth in delivery and body language, especially for crowd performer. Jim Roof plays one of his friends, Bo McKeever, a sordid white liar of a car salesman always looking to score between two legs. I remember Roof from his role as a snuff filmmaker in another film with “100” in the title – “House with 100 Eyes.” Roof’s funny and likable alongside Snitsky, but the other half of the “Bros” weekend pack droll with weak characterizations despite decent performances from Jeff Swanton and Ernest O’Donnell (“Jay and Silent Bob Reboot”). Both their roles fall flat by running out of steam when the potential is at the peak of flowing through their veins and unfortunately fizzle before they can be an pivotal means to an end. Catherine Corcoran (“Terrifier”), Meg Carriero (“Return to Return to Nuke ‘Em High Aka Vol. 2”), Bob Cleary (“Shadows of the Forest”) and Eileen Dietz (“Halloween II” remake) round out of the cast.
“100 Acres of Hell” sounds like a tour de force of forestry fury coupled with two ex-wrestlers and a backwards, backwoods, hillbilly killer without a cause, but that is where the pipe dream ends and an enigmatic reality sets in. The banter between the friends is palatable and, dare I say it, amusing at times and the camping setup, though trope-conventional, is braced with a solid foundation and a good catalytic promise of beer and urban legend to get things moving toward Foggy Creek. Where “100 Acres of Hell” ultimately falters, in a pair of places, is around the second into the third act as characters are quickly whacked from the story like the combat denizens of the second Mortal Kombat film – “Annihilation.” Jeb Tucker literally wipes the floor with the unlucky campers and their guests like an inbred super Shredder. Secondly, Hank Leigh Hump’s directorial debut is coherently challenging, an unbalanced execution, and a character imploding mishap that shapes “100 Acres of Hell’s” latter half into a struggle to comprehension. Hump’s film feels and looks incomplete from this perspective as if the post-production quickly finalize the project with blind haste and willy-nilly attitude.
“100 Acres of Hell” is a Jersey Lights and Screenshot Entertainment production paying homage to the Golden Age of slashers in the 1980’s with a masked killer and a high body count. The home video distributor, Indican Pictures, released the DVD and the digital streaming services this past October. Unfortunately, a screener copy was provided from this review and a full critique of the image and audio quality will not be covered. As far as bonus material, the screener contained a static menu with Indican Pictures’ preview trailers and a chaptered scene selection. Two former WWE wresters battle out of the ring and onto the screen with a retrograde slasher, “100 Acres of Hell,” but can’t pin down a 1-2-3 count for a win. Alternatively, if looking for the summit version of Jeb Tucker’s personal hunting reserve, a digital “100 Acres of Hell” comic from Swampline Comics offers a colorfully pulpy rendition of Tucker’s brutal adventures in slaying and enslaving campers…something the movie could not provide.