Starring: Nathan Phillips, Cassandra Magrath, and Kestie Morassi
Homicidal Maniac: John Jarratt as Mick Taylor
Run time: 1:44:00
Quick Synopsis: After their car breaks down, three hikers traveling through the Australian Outback find themselves in danger.
I guess before I start to gush about this movie I should add a disclaimer. This movie is not for everyone. If you like to end watching a movie with a smile on your face or a feeling of relief this movie is not for you. Saying this, I think this may be one of the best horror films of the last 15 years. There are very few horror films that are able to create an atmosphere that this movie creates. The movie starts slowly as the characters are introduced in a solid manner that helps the audience view them as actual people that most would care about. This is something that many horror movies fail to do, leading to a feeling of apathy as the supposed protagonists are killed off one by one. Honestly, it would not be hard for the viewer to forget that this film was a horror movie if it was not for the subtleties that give the movie a sense of dread. Most of this is done through the cinematography, which includes great shots of the Outback and stark colors to make the audience somewhat uncomfortable even when everything seems fine.
Some may argue that the build-up may have run on a little too long, but I think that just adds to the effectiveness of the second half of the movie. All of the calmness that we have come accustomed to during the film is immediately contrasted with scenes of brutality that will get a reaction from almost anyone. John Jarratt is perfect as Mick Taylor in the movie. There are very few antagonists that I can recall that can compare to the combination of brutality and insanity portrayed by Jarratt. The main characters are all likable and for a moment each appears as though they may be able to get out of the situation they are in relatively healthy. However, each time the viewer is faced with a taste of reality as the characters are faced with the same. It is obvious that even the surviving character/s will never be the same. The director is able to realistically capture what it would be like to put in a situation like this. There are many critics of the brutality, but I do not think it is overly gory. This is not "torture porn." This is just a painfully realistic awful horror movie.
Fun Fact: John Jarratt is a method actor, which led to him staying in character between takes.
Hidden Gem: The name of the mine in the film is Australian serial killer Ivan Milat's name backwards.
Total Kill Count: 3
Old Man- Gordon Pool (1:28:00) Shot with Rifle Gore Rating: 8
Kristy- Kestie Morassi (1:32:00) Tortured/Shot Gore Rating: 6
Liz- Cassandra Magrath (------) Last Seen Paralyzed From Neck Down/Presumed Dead Gore Rating: 5
Horror Film: 9