Scarfies

***1/2

Reviewed by: Trinity

Ask any student what their ideal flat would be and you'll get a mixed response. In Scarfies, five students at Otago University, New Zealand ("the Southernmost University in the World") find something pretty close: free rent, free electricity... and a basement full of marijuana plants. After some heart-searching, Scott, Emma, Alex, Nicole and Graham, decide to become amateur drug lords for the week and sell the stuff for a cool $50,000.

But sometimes it's better to leave crime to the criminals: their new-found lifestyle is shattered by the arrival of an intruder. After they trap him in the basement, it seems like there's only one sure way out of their predicament.

Scarfies, the debut feature for director Duncan Sarkies, is like a cross between Shallow Grave and The Last Supper. It's clearly aimed at a young audience and, with this in mind, it's possible to overlook the clich├ęd melting pot of characters.

At one point, Scott even utters the memorable "Whatever you do, don't screw the crew" - sound advice for any prospective flatmates. What lifts it above such generalities are the locations - the town of Dunedin, and interiors of a wonderful house - and the impressively three-dimensional villain played by Jon Brazier.

For the record, the term scarfies comes from the way students at Otago try to keep out the winter chill, and the clothing is appropriately timeless. Even so, the cast seem to spend most of their time running around in pyjamas - very cute. Scarfies isn't an original film in any way, but should still prove a hit with students and ex-students across the globe.

Reviewed on: 08 Jul 2007
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A group of students find some pot plants in their basement and decide to cash in, which is fine until the owner turns up.

Director: Robert Sarkies

Writer: Duncan Sarkies, Robert Sarkies

Starring: Willa O'Neill, Neill Rea, Ashleigh Seagar, Taika Cohen, Charlie Bleakley, Jon Brazier, Mark Neilson, Mark Dudfield, Pat Soper, Dave Dudfield, Andrew Munro

Year: 1999

Runtime: 94 minutes

Country: New Zealand

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Shallow Grave