[Review] Peelers (2017) – “wants to make you puke and give you a boner at the same time”

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Peelers will not be on many year-end lists for 2017. That I can guarantee. Regardless if you want to fill a weeknight with an off kilter “strip club in the woods” gore show, than look no further than this Sevè Schelenz directed indie to satiate that void. Warning: that void will be crowded with gallons and gallons of blood and black pus.

The nearly one hundred minute film opens in a hospital, where a coughing/puking patient brutally attacks a nurse doing her rounds. From there, we get a very steamy, very extended opening title sequence that looked and felt like something out of Silk Stalkings only with more boobs…a lot more boobs. I don’t want to say they over did it, but…

Moving on. The meat of this film is set in a strip club in the middle of nowhere, which initially made me think I was going to see some sort of cross between From Dusk Til Dawn, Vamp and Evil Dead, and while there are some likenesses to the original Evil Dead, there isn’t enough to say its even close to the what the Peelers box art hinted it would be.

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The club, which we find out later is called ‘Titty Balls’, is owned by the beautiful Blue Jean, played by Wren Walker. Her rapport amongst her clientele and her employees is part of the charm of her character, but there is some sorrow below the surface blatantly expressed ON the surface as she is wearing all black throughout the entire film (minus the end, but its best not to give too much away). Blue Jean, as it happens is selling her establishment to a clearly devious and anxious buyer named Chromagnum (yes, it’s a dumb name).

The house rule early on, we learn, is that you never call Blue Jean by her initials or you may catch a fastball high and tight your kisser. One unlucky customer tests Blue Jean’s patience and is rightfully escorted out by some house newcomers out to celebrate what they think is an oil discovery. Petroleum it is not. These unfortunate miners have stumbled upon a highly infectious highly potent natural chemical that poisons the brains and organs of whoever it comes into contact with, turning them into blood thirsty people eaters. These cannibals-to-be struck more than black gold when the walked into a strip club full of paying customers and topless honeys as their symptoms manifest. Blue Jean, her son Logan and security guard Remy, must protect the uninfected and defeat the growing number of fresh ghouls in order to survive. Let the gore show begin.

Schelenz took quite a few risks in editing this film, and for the most part they paid off. First, he waits until about halfway through the film to give you the backstory about the miners and the “oil” that they found. Initially, I thought it was a mistake because I spent a good 15 minutes scratching my head thinking I missed something. Looking back, it gives the film a subtle but unique spin and I can appreciate any attempt at breaking away from the much overdone timeline of events so often recycled.

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He also made the main characters smarter than you would normally think some yokels working at strip club would be. When they start busting out some serious math and science midway through the film to improve their survival odds, they take you by surprise and set the stage for some serious blood and guts.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention some of the films shortfalls, specifically in the CGI department. There is simply no defending it, especially when the practical effects were expertly performed throughout the film. There were points where CGI was used directly before or after some very well placed practical effects that had my eyes rolling in disgust. And the CGI fire… just why? Couple that with some not so great acting and a lengthy runtime you think you have a stinker …right?

Wrong. What you have a humorous (both intentional and accidental) and entertaining film that tries to make you puke and give you a boner at the same time. It is a film I would certainly be willing to pay for and watch again and if a sequel was in the works, I’d be happy to indulge.

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