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Scarfies (1999)

  Directed by: Robert Sarkies
Written by: Duncan Sarkies, Robert Sarkies
Starring: Charlie Bleakley, Jon Brazier, Taika Cohen, Willa O'Neill, Neill Rea, Ashleigh Seagar
Links: Scarfies on the IMDb, Official site, Buy on Video, Buy on DVD
Genre: Suspense/Horror/Thriller

This movie gets: 7.00 (1 rating) Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

"Intense" - a review by andy-j

A group of five money-strapped uni students discover a decrepid old abandoned mansion in Dunedin, New Zealand, and decide to take advantage and move in - after all, it has free electricity! They discover that someone is growing a large crop of marijuana in the basement, so, being enterprising (and somewhat corrupt) types, the group harvest it and sell the lot for $50,000. This allows them to live more comfortably, and a relationship soon forms between Nicola and Alex, two of the students. However, their dream turns into a nightmare when Kevin, the very angry rightful owner of the crop turns up. They manage to lock him in the basement and hold him prisoner. They have nothing to bargain with, having undervalued the crop by $200,000. They know that if he is freed, he will get his revenge on them all. So, knowing they can't keep him trapped forever, they try to decide on a course of action, and the pressure causes in-fighting to soon break out. Meanwhile, Kevin starts playing mind games with the flatmates, turning them against each other and playing on their doubts, in a bid to create an opportunity to escape.

Scarfies is a good, solid film. The plot is a good one, giving the opportunity for some great interaction between the characters, who, for the most part, are ordinary people placed in a horrible situation. The students, while not necessarily likeable, are all very believeable and very well-cast. Watching them panic at the chaos around them, and then take it out on each other is what makes this movie really interesting. It appears to be very centred on the characters and their reactions and interactions as the situation around them changes. It is a credit to all the actors involved that they were able to pull this challenge off successfully. Special mention also to Jon Brazier, who plays Kevin with a lot of intensity. He is just downright scary - older, smarter and more gutsy than any of the students, desperate to escape and getting more and more angry.

Scarfies is very effective at what is does, and is a well-made movie, but I suspect there is something missing. I'm not quite sure what is it - perhaps more of a sense of desperation is needed. The students never really fall to pieces and always manage to seem at least a little confident. Perhaps the emotion of their situation may have come through a little better if they cracked a little more.

Scarfies is a subtle film in some ways - I didn't necessarily appreciate it immediately after watching it, but its merits crept up on me in the week or so after I saw it and I realised what it has going for it. It's well worth a look.

andy-j gives this movie 7 out of 10.
Review created on Fri 5 Dec 2003

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Number of reviews: 1
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Reader comments

  1. I didn't like it, only thing good about it was the somewhat interesting plot, other than that, the setting, atmosphere, characters were all just un-enjoyable to watch. It was well made although I suspect it was made by someone putting film school lessons into practice, nothing special.

    Rating given: 3

    A comment from Gman3k on Tue 02 Mar 2004 22:04 #

  2. Ya I do like this movie cuz it really shows how kiwi uni students are like. Rugby game, beer, sex..... Im moving down to Otago next year too and I hope I will find some weeds in a basement too.

    Rating given: 8

    A comment from sweetas on Sat 22 Oct 2005 22:27 #

  3. The student atmosphere of Dunedin and life in a decrepit inner city flat resembling more a squalor was the strength of this film. The premise was also interesting with a group of students moving into an aprtment with free rent, free electricity and also a huge marijuana crop in the basement. Far too many expletives from some characters and not overly good acting were the detractore from an otherwise good movie.

    Rating given: 6

    A comment from Justin on Wed 26 Oct 2005 11:48 #

  4. this movie wasnt that good the only thing that i enjoyed was the suspense that you get into and out of that i thought that it would lead to a good ending but it was`nt at all.

    A comment from cheryce shirto on Tue 01 Nov 2005 12:03 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 5.67 (3 ratings)

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