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Boobs, bodies, blood, and butchery are among the more baser ingredients in any good slasher flick. Generally in that order. With that in mind, where else to get the most of all of them than in a strip club, which is where a few in the genre have already taken us, including now this graphic little thriller that mixes gooey zombie-esque monsters with bodacious babes, in a gory, mushy horror flick that aims squarely for B-movie drive-in fun that certainly delivers the ick.
On the last night of service at an isolated countryside strip joint, manager Blue Jean (Wren Walker) has a lot on her plate with a full house, an angry chef, and a troublesome early twenties stepson, Logan (Madison J. Loos), whose got himself mixed up with the law again. But none of that compares to what a group of miners fresh from the caves bring with them, a black slime clinging to their skin that once seeps inside, eventually turns them into hideous, murderous maniacs. Now Blue Jean has to organize the survivors into a fight for their lives against a spreading, rampaging infection. Good thing she’s an ex-ball player and has herself a bat.
Directed by Sevé Schelenz, Peelers isn’t going for subtle and with its low budget, puts most of its efforts into the gore effects that anything else, from decapitation to plenty of gutting. There is blood everywhere but with a title like Peelers, what else would you expect? Kept almost entirely within the confines of the club, Schelenz makes good use of the claustrophobia the paranoia instills, but be assured, this isn’t a scary movie, only a gruesome one. It’s a ferocious second half that is bathed in crimson that somewhat betrays the comedic tone set at the start where, well, strippers urinate and flatulate on the wooing crowd. That is as enjoyable to watch as it sounds.
The film attempts to layer in some character to it all, with some bits of romance and subplots involving a female cop who’s in love with Logan, along with quirky traits among the strippers but none of it really sticks and all feels like fluff before the Mexican miners go berserk. This dark and bloody storytelling isn’t anything new of course, with an entire subgenre born decades ago paving the way for this current crop, and if anything is to be deemed worthy, it is Schelenz’s great use of practical effects throughout that lend it a throwback feel, cleanly separating real from fantasy.
Peelers is a schlocky horror film that targets a very specific audience, and while it tailors itself well to that, it seems to forget where it begins and tonally clings to some things too serious by the second half. Good for gore and a few boobs, Peelers is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray.
Movie description: Peelers is a 2017 horror film about a small town strip club owner who must defend her bar, her strippers and her life when violent infected patrons show up on the final closing night.
Director(s): Sevé Schelenz
Actor(s): Wren Walker, Caz Odin Darko, Madison J. Loos