Turkey Shoot (MIFF 2014)

At a key point in this new remake of 1982’s Turkey Shoot, our stalwart hero asserts that he’s not going to kill the villain, as ‘It’s not about revenge anymore.’ Intrigued, his blonde companion asks: ‘Then what is it about?’
His earnest reply?
‘I don’t know’.

It’s moments like this that make it almost comforting to know that the characters are even less sure of tone and motivation than the audience is. For Turkey Shoot tries to be many things: an exploitation film, a cutting satire of reality TV and an achingly serious action film. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really achieve any of these. Perhaps trying to pin down just one style would have been a good start.

Turkey Shoot - Silver Screen Snobs

Exploitation films, at least the best ones, are infused with a serious amount of fun. It’s why we call them ‘guilty pleasures’. Turkey Shoot IS funny, but mostly unintentionally. The straight talking delivery from lead Dominic Purcell suggests that he’s not been allowed in on the joke. His unsympathetic thug lumbers around scenes like Sylvester Stallone minus the humanity.

Filmmakers have often been pushed into great creative choices due to the constraints of a low budget. Sometimes however, that ambition needs to be kept in check. Can’t afford to shoot a car chase? Maybe don’t haphazardly compile one out of dashboard cam stock footage of real accidents then. Yes, that happens in this film. The compounding of inadequate CGI, lack of character through-lines, wandering accents and over-reliance on the TV show format only serve to distract from what should have been a fun, bloody romp.

Somebody put this turkey down now please. It’s suffered enough.

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