MY CHERRY PIE *** Australia 2021 Dir: Addison Heath & Jasmine Jakupi. 81 mins
Ozploitation became a phenomena in cinema during the early parts of the 1970’s, when Australian filmmakers began to experiment with a new wave of productions which amalgamated low-budget horror, action, sexploitation and comedy together. Although Mad Max (1979) propelled the genre into the mainstream limelight, films like Razorback (1984), Long Weekend (1978) and Walkabout (1971) were equally influential on home soil.
With My Cherry Pie, Heath and Jakupi have thrown their hat in the Ozploitation ring, while also adding a fresh infusion of Giallo slasher and Tarantino-esque crime thriller to the mix, with a pinch of nasty Grindhouse for added flavour.
Freddy (Sotiris Tzelios) is released from prison and collected by his fellow criminal friends Jack (Dylan Heath) and Green (Tim Jason Wicks). The crew go on an ill-fated crime spree and they make a run for it out of Melbourne. When their car dies along a rural road, local Edwin Crow (Glenn Maynard) offers them food and shelter, with the promise of towing their car in the morning. During the night, the men are introduced to Edwin’s seductive, but simple, niece Cherry (Trudi Ranik) and they discover their fight for freedom has only just begun.
Co-Directors Addison Heath and Jasmine Jakupi, working from a screenplay by Heath, creates a very distinctive eighties aesthetic, while also melding together familiar sub genres, and influenced by the success of X and Pearl, but at its core My Cherry Pie is a grimy slasher flick with a disturbing familial twist. The addition of Tarantino inspired dialogue, and character traits, makes it a fresh take on a well explored plot, with the banter between the three main protagonists, playfully injecting some much-needed humour into a storyline which features a few triggering and traumatic topics towards the climax.
The use of practical effects, although typical low-budget fare, is impressive. Makeup effects artists Nick Kocsis and Armanda Pozzetto pull out all the stops to create a number of memorable, gory, set pieces. The kills are gloriously brutal and bloody, which is the main consideration for exploitation fans and there is a lot to enjoy on that front. Eye-slicing violence and gratuitous dismemberment is lovingly crafted by filmmakers who obviously have a passion for the genre and a generous level of respect for their audience.
The film falters on set design and cinematography, the usual culprits when it comes to Indie filmmaking, however. The location in use, a disused psychiatric hospital, holds enormous potential and shows ambition, but creepy hallways are underutilised, while off-white walls and outdated curtains are overused. Performances by all the players are par for a low-to-zero budget production, and the hints of comedy and snappy dialogue almost elevates these efforts, but ultimately the lack of any real surprise or genuine originality hampers any prospects for elevation beyond standard Indie quality.
Horror fans will find much to enjoy as My Cherry Pie blazes a bloody trail through the Australian woods and gives the viewer all the blood splatter and evisceration they could possibly desire.
Review by Louis Du Toit
My Cherry Pie is out now on Blu-ray (Region FREE) from VIPCO & BayView Entertainment and is available to buy at: