Studio: Uncork’d Entertainment
Director: Seve Schelenz
Writer: Lisa DeVita, Seve Schelenz
Producer: Seve Schelenz, Lisa DeVita, Todd Giroux, Brendan Smith
Stars: Wren Walker, Caz Odin Darko, Madison J. Loos, Cameron Dent, Al Dales, Momona Komagata, Kirsty Elizabeth Peters, Nikki Wallin, Victoria Gomez
The crew of a small town strip club fights to stay alive when a mysterious black oil turns patrons into ravenous creatures.
I have good news and bad news. Actually, it’s only one piece of news. Whether it is good or bad depends on personal proclivities for tongue-in-cheek terror flicks featuring mutated men tearing up a strip club.
If you enjoy horror spiked with a certain style of humor, like the sight gag of an old lady crocheting in the crowd while her elderly husband watches a stripper named “Thunder C*nt” rhythmically queef into a microphone, get ready for a raucous riot of ribaldry and rampaging. On the other hand, if you left behind juvenile jocularity in junior high, like using a dildo to depress a car’s gas pedal or quips such as “strike three!” when hitting someone with a baseball, get ready to watch something else. Because for better or for worse, the latter for me and the former presumably for someone else, “Peelers” is all the T&A and toilet humor one low-budget splatter flick, and its target audience, can stomach and then some.
It’s the last night in business for strip club proprietor Blue Jean Douglas. The no-nonsense bar owner has had it with small town life, so she sold her business intending to move on after one final shift with her smitten bouncer, jovial bartender, and buxom ladies with hearts of gold in her adopted family.
It’s also the last night on Earth for many of the club’s patrons and staff, though they don’t know it yet. A mining crew thinks they struck oil in a coal cave nearby, and they’ve come to Jean’s place to celebrate. What they’re about to learn is that the substance they’ve discovered is more vicious than viscous, and not exactly oil at all.
The first man infected undergoes a grotesque transformation, vomiting black and green fluid all over the bathroom. His metamorphosis into a zombie-minded monster ignites a chain reaction of chaos throughout the club, with creatures and corpses quickly outnumbering Jean, her adult son, and her crew. It’ll take all the moxie, martial arts, and marksmanship everyone can muster if anyone is to make it until morning.
It isn’t enough for an appreciative audience to fall in step with the film’s part Full Moon, part Troma, and part USA Up All Night style. Even then, such sensibilities require tuning to a very low frequency of B-movie breasts and blood. For instance, before getting jazzed about the prospect of undressed women bashing in monster brains, let’s just say that Jean’s club wouldn’t be the first choice for a bachelor party, unless the groom-to-be has a thing for dancers of a certain look wearing attire that doesn’t always scream “sexy.”
Regarding the scaled-down scope, Lindsay George’s cinematography is up to snuff considering the confined set and likely tight schedule with a small budget. “Peelers” is one of the better lit and shot films at this level, and has suitably gory practical effects to match.
Which makes it more puzzling why blood sprays are digital, and obviously so. The movie has solid makeup work, chunky body parts, and dispenses discolored gunk like H2O at a water park. Yet no one could come up with a simple straw or some other tube mechanism for the splatter? It’s a bizarre shortcut to take when the on-set team is clearly capable, and a sore thumb CGI cheat at that.
“Not my cup of tea” is a polite way to describe “Peelers.” It’s the type of movie I might have rented as a preteen when hormones were higher than standards. Even then I doubt I would remember it now.
In cases like these, I sometimes consult secondary sources to take other people’s pulses and adjust insight accordingly. Unfortunately, objective data appears to be in short supply.
Of the 12 IMDb user reviews currently posted for “Peelers,” all 12 award at least 8/10, and 11 are from people who have only reviewed “Peelers.” The twelfth person also reviewed director Seve Schelenz’s previous film “Skew,” and it might not surprise you to learn that film was likewise reviewed favorably.
It should then come as no shock that 10 of those 12 users have join dates coinciding with the time their “Peelers” reviews were posted. This means either:
1. “Peelers” is so good that people are inspired without coercion to create new IMDb accounts specifically to tout the movie’s magnificence to the internet. Or:
2. “Peelers” is so poor that a preferred way to convince people otherwise is with imaginary buzz built by shills.
You can conclude which scenario seems most likely. Me, I’d rather move on than debate deceptive promotional practices. So I’ll simply score “Peelers” at a shoulder-shrugging 50/100 under the assumption someone out there finds fun in a horror/comedy that is as lowbrow as it is low-budget. Someone other than a make-believe IMDb user, that is.
NOTE: There is a mid-credits scene and a post-credits scene.
Review Score: 50