★★.5 out of ★★★★★
Directed by Addison Heath and Jasmine Jakupi
There’s no telling if 2021’s My Cherry Pie qualifies as Oz-spoitation, but it sure looks, sounds, and feels like something straight off of 42nd street. It’s not the pastoral Picnic at Hanging Rock, nor is it the ever-haunting Lake Mungo. Think Wolf Creek with little-to-no-budget, an extra bit of nastiness, and a pinch of grindhouse.
My Cherry Pie doesn’t bring anything terribly original to the table. At its core this is a grimy slasher flick with a disturbing familial twist. The originality comes from the well-constructed and well-delivered dialogue courtesy of some derivative Tarantio-esque banter amongst the three main protagonists.
Deploying a well trod criminals on the run trope, My Cherry Pie follows a trio of sleazy miscreants doing their best to channel Samuel L. Jackson. Directors Addison Heath and Jasmine Jakupi work to create an air of Breathless with a mix of Kalifornia. While the trio has some hysterical repartee, make no mistake, this a brutish collection of creeps.
After poorly confronting an equally despicable drug dealer, the trio nabs his stash and hits the road for the outback. Not satisfied with thieving the stash the diabolical trio decides to eat half of it. As the gang of psychedelics begins to do its work the trio is paralyzed in the middle of the road in the middle of nowhere.
Half on this earth and half in a psychedelic haze the group is approached by a local who happens to live/occupy an abandoned hospital. Unclear if it’s a hospital for the CRIMINALLY INSANE, but for these purposes we’re going to say it is. After the group gets settled in they’re introduced to Cherry Pie. Really, that’s her name and that’s how they refer to her.
Turns out Cherry Pie isn’t sweet, but sour. She was born to kill and she loves to kill. Why? Well, for that answer you have to wait until the very end. All you really need to know is that she’s lovely young demure woman who loves to cosplay as a maniacal plague doctor.
My Cherry Pie, while not terribly original, has some moderately redeeming qualities, in spite of a lacking budget. It’s not often you get unfettered access to a hospital for the CRIMINALLY INSANE and Directors Addison Heath and Jasmine Jakupi do a splendid job of using it to its utmost. But, unfortunately, the film falls apart on the production and cinematography side of the ledger.
While the entire cast, from the hippies frolicking in the woods to the miscreant trio to Cherry Pie and her father/uncle/brother, turn in great performances, the film is somewhat undone by pretty thin productions. But if you’re a fan of exploitation or more specifically Oz-sploitation, then this one is for you! For the tagline and poster alone, we’re giving this an extra half a star:
All you need is one slice!
My Cherry Pie is likely Rated R and is currently being screened at the Another Hole in the Head film festival.