Fresh Meat (2012)
By: Devon B. on November 12, 2014 | Comments
Monster Pictures | All Regions, PAL | 2.35:1 (16:9 enhanced) | English DD 5.1 | 80 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Danny Mulheron
Starring: Temuera Morrison, Kate Elliot, Hanna Tevita, Nicola Kawana, Jack Sergent-Shadbolt
Screenplay: Briar Grace Smith
Country: New Zealand
Once Were Warriors is an amazing film that made me realise that people in New Zealand don't always explode in showers of gore in between sitting around playing pianos that get washed up on the beach. The movie introduced me to Maori culture and like everyone else who's seen it, I was really impressed with Temuera Morrison. Morrison has made some inroads in Hollywood, but the other day I saw some horrible comedy where he and Jean Reno were side characters and both exuded way more talent and humour than any of the leads. I haven't seen Morrison in a new NZ movie for years, so I was eager to check out Fresh Meat to see Morrison play a character with a bit more depth again.

In Fresh Meat Morrison stars as the cannibalistic head of a family. His daughter has just returned home from school when a trio of crims perform a high octane home invasion. The crooks are hoping to hide out from a police manhunt that is trailing them, but they hadn't counted on the residents of the house having a hankering for long pig, so they may have been better off with the coppers.

I readily acknowledge that some brilliant movies have come out of NZ like the aforementioned Once Were Warriors and Whale Rider, but my favourite films from The Shaky Isles are still Peter Jackson's earlier movies and Black Sheep. I was keen to see Fresh Meat because the cover proudly claims it is "in the tradition of Bad Taste, Braindead & Blacksheep (sic)." The back of the cover quotes a review that says the film equals Bad Taste for blood and gore, though I'd say it doesn't hit those levels. It does have some good splatstick, but mostly it's just a quirky, twisted comedy. One of the first things in Fresh Meat is a shower scene, so I was confident early on that I would enjoy the movie, but I did keep waiting for a cavalcade of gore that never arrived. Fortunately the humour mostly works and I found myself chuckling for most of the film, so it didn't matter I wasn't laughing at people being ripped apart in grossly hilarious ways.

It's nice to see Morrison playing a character with a stronger connection to his heritage than he got to display in Once Were Warriors, even though here he's connected to some traditions that modern society would frown upon. Morrison does make the distinction that the family's cannibalism isn't connected to being Maori, however that seems like hair splitting to me. Morrison is hugely proud of his culture, which I assume was a major factor in the making of the redemptive What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?, but with Fresh Meat he shows he's not against taking loving pokes at his background.

Fresh Meat may not get the international acclaim of Jane Campion's last movie, which just goes to show that most of humanity is dumb. Fresh Meat has way more laughs than any of Campion's films, and Morrison has a lot of fun eating his cast mates when he tires of chewing on the scenery.
The Disc
There's a little edge enhancement, but other than that the film looks really good, with a sharp, strong and clean image. The movie isn't hugely action oriented so the audio isn't that impressive, but there are some nice thuds and bangs and the surrounds kick in where appropriate. The 2.0 track, not listed on the slick, has a lower bitrate, but is fine and it's there for those that want it. Trailers for Antisocial and Big Ass Spider! play on start up. The real extras are a 10 minute making of, a nearly 40 minute behind the scenes, a music video clip, and an assortment of trailers for the movie. The behind the scenes covers the film's music, visual effects, the guns (which, now that I think about, get cocked for emphasis an awful lot in the movie so I'm surprised anyone had any ammo left), and the characters.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
Fresh Meat is the best comedy about eating people to come out of New Zealand since Bad Taste. It's not a perfect movie, but it is entertaining and has enough going on that it never feels dull. Fans who want an HD release may have to look to Germany, long the bastion of Kiwi comedies, where there has been a Blu release, but people that are happy with a DVD should be more than satisfied with this offering from Monster Pictures.
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