Film Review: PEELERS (2016)

Film Review: PEELERS (2016)

Feb 22, 2017

Genre films, burlesque houses and strip clubs have always been a popular combination. From H.G. Lewis’ THE GORE-GORE GRLS and Ron Ormond’s THE EXOTIC ONES aka THE MONSTER AND THE STRIPPERS exploitation directors have used it as an easy way to work plenty of bare skin into a film. One particular combination that became especially popular is zombies -vs- strippers, from ZOMBIE STRIPPERS with horror and porn icons Robert Englund and Jenna Jameson, to the subtly titled Japanese entry BIG TITS ZOMBIE there seems to be a never ending supply of them.  Now director Sevé Schelenz (SKEW) gives us PEELERS. Can he make it stand out from the crowd and deliver the cinematic lap dance we’ve been waiting for?

A brief prologue gives us an idea of what to expect, (it also features one of the most imaginative “fade to black” transitions I’ve seen in a long time) and then we meet Blue Jean (Wren Walker), a former baseball player, now a young widow raising her constantly in trouble son Logan (Madison J. Loos THE TOOTH FAIRY) while running a small town strip club. But it’s all about to change, tonight she’s selling the club to finance a new start for the two of them somewhere far away. Of course it’s not going to be that easy. Logan’s antics have brought the cops to the club, one of the girls is having issues with a jealous boyfriend and a group of miners has come in to celebrate, one of them with a very odd injury. Of course the miner’s wound is contaminated, and after puking up immense quantities of some black fluid he turns into a zombiesque killing machine spreading the infection.

After kick starting things with the prologue and opening credits laced with several sets of breasts to let us know it means business the film slows down for a bit and establishes the characters.  Writer Lisa DeVita does a great job of fleshing them out without being dull or resorting to on the nose dialogue. From Remy (Caz Odin Darko SEX,LIES AND SNUFF ONLINE) the bouncer with a badly hidden crush on his boss, to the feisty Baby/Elaine (Nikki Wallin ANDROID NIGHT PUNCH) whose act delivers one hell of a surprise. It’s especially refreshing that the girls are not lazy stereotype bimbo strippers, they’re solid characters with personalities and intelligence.

Once the killing starts the film delivers the goods. There’s some bad CGI blood spray but most of the effects are not only solid but pretty creative. A three way killing in the VIP room involving decapitations and a lap dance made my jaw drop. The film has a high body count and lays the blood on thick and may be low budget but it puts it all on the screen.

The cast deserves praise for delivering solid performances and getting into the spirit of the film. Wren Walker is a star waiting to be discovered, she gives an incredibly bad ass as well as hot ass performance in the lead. Wallin manages to get the sexy/kinky/feisty vibe down perfectly, and Darko (not sure if he’s related to Donnie) is touching as the smitten big guy.

I know it’s only February, but I can easily see PEELERS turning up in my years best list. How good is it? Good enough that I hate found footage films but I’m still going to hunt up a copy of Schelenz’s first film SKEW. It’s won and been nominated for a ton of awards during its festival run and it deserves them. This is one to watch out for. And don’t turn it off at the credits, there’s a great epilogue that answers the film’s running question, and gives guys the look at Wren they spent the film hoping for.

PEELERS will be available On Demand March 28 from Uncork’d Entertainment.