A vicious thriller originating from Australia, Redd Inc. (aka Inhuman Resources) isn’t a picture for the faint of heart. Tonally reminiscent of Saw and Hostel, it’s an unforgivably bleak movie, with director Daniel Krige making the most of his limited budget by keeping things confined in order to focus on tension and gory make-up. Miraculously, it’s a more skilful flick than other recent torture porn features, benefiting from strong performances and convincing make-up effects supervised by none other than horror veteran Tom Savini (who worked on the original Dawn of the Dead and too many other films to mention).

When several company executives are beheaded in a brutal multiple homicide, Thomas Reddmann (Nicholas Hope) is arrested and convicted for the crime, winding up dead as a consequence. One of the people who testified against Reddman was the innocuous Annabelle Hale (Kelly Paterniti), who works as an internet stripper. Months down the track, Annabelle is kidnapped, waking up in a dank office room chained to a computer desk with five others – including police officer Edward (Alan Dukes), psychic Sheena (Hayley McElhinney), and the kindly William (Sam Reid), all of whom were involved in the court case against Reddmann in some capacity. As it turns out, Redd is alive after all. Presenting himself to his hostages, Redd explains his innocence in the murder case, ordering them to pour through the evidence in order to find the real killer. Redd has zero tolerance for misconduct, and punishes failure to work with severe penalties.

Written by Jonathon Green and Anthony O’Connor, Redd Inc. is tonally similar to other recent Australian exploitation pictures, containing shades of The Loved Ones and Wolf Creek. Genre fans who love seeing gooey gore delivered via practical effects will be thrilled with this movie, as it serves up tonnes of the red stuff using old-school methods. The legendary Savini supervised the effects, a prospect which should excite any horror buff worth their salt. There are a number of other nice touches here, too; Savini actually cameos in one scene, for instance, and his character sports a Dawn of the Dead poster on his wall. Added to this, it’s darkly funny to see the murderous Redd drinking from a “World’s Best Boss” coffee mug, and the film has a smattering of bare breasts for good measure. Krige and his writers have a firm grasp on what works in these types of flicks, delivering the superficial essentials as well as a twisty narrative that’s not as simplistic as it seems.

If there’s anything to criticise, it’s the pacing. Krige was fighting an uphill battle here, attempting to keep the picture interesting despite most of the proceedings taking place in one location. At a hair under ninety minutes, it does get a bit repetitive in terms of visuals, though it is interesting more often than not. Perhaps with a bit more budget, the cinematic style could’ve been enhanced to keep the picture more involving. A bit more problematic is the screenplay, which isn’t airtight; at one stage, a character flees while being pursued, as opposed to calling the police or trying to kill her pursuer despite being surrounded by potential weapons. There’s also a twist towards the end that, frankly, I saw coming in the first ten minutes. Still, that’s not to say Redd Inc. is a bust; on the contrary, it’s decently written and executed, and the premise is original enough to distinguish itself in the crowded field of horror movies.

Krige’s biggest asset is Nicholas Hope (Bad Boy Bubby), delivering a delectably nuanced performance as the psychopathic Redd. Hope has understated charm on the surface, yet there’s a sinister streak underneath. He’s a great presence, and he’s part of the reason why Redd Inc. works as well as it does. Meanwhile, the lively and cute Paterniti impresses as Annabelle, making for a protagonist that’s fun, spunky and good-looking to boot. The actress is a Home & Away veteran, but hopefully this film will serve as a springboard for bigger and better things. After all, she’s far more convincing than most of the horror heroines in Hollywood. There are other quality performances here, including director Krige himself who appears for a fleeting period of time, featuring in a fun cameo as one of Redd’s hostages.

Redd Inc. is no masterpiece, and it won’t scare you or bring you nightmares, but it’s an entertaining genre effort orchestrated by a group of filmmakers who clearly love their exploitation cinema. Plenty of viscera is thrown around, yet director Daniel Krige also has an eye towards suspense and storytelling, making the most of the meagre resources at his disposal. Horror buffs should definitely check this one out, as it’s ideal late-night viewing on a rainy Friday evening.

6.8/10