Killing Ground (2016) Review
Quick Film Info
Writer and Director: Damien Power.
Release: August 2017 in Australia. Released by Hypergiant Films.
Genre: Survival horror.
Budget: $1.3 million.
Shout out to Black Dirt for their awesome tracks throughout.
Starring: Aaron Pedersen, Ian Meadows, Harriet Dyer, and Aaron Glenane.
What's It About?
Ian and Samantha head to a national park, hoping that nature will give them space for some quiet time together. They arrive at an isolated campsite to find an SUV and a tent— no sign of the occupants. As night falls and the campers fail to return, Ian and Sam grow increasingly uneasy.
Trailer for Killing Ground
My Thoughts on Killing Ground
Some movies have an inherent ability to make you feel like they have knocked the wind out of you. It's not a feeling I go looking for when I want to watch a horror film. I like the tension and the scary and I often use my hand to block out overly gory scenes. I still appreciate the likes of Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Saw and others in that niche.
I really dig survival horror. Only last year, I got around to seeing Eden Lake (2008), but there's a few others I hold in high esteem; Rogue (2007) 28 Days Later (2002) and Zombieland (2009) to name a few.
Damien Power, the writer and director has just been noticed after having his film shown at Sundance to rave reviews, I can see why. I can also see why this film would be a little divisive when it comes to its audience.
There are so many things that cannot be said to stay well and truly out of spoiler territory. It's important not to go there because it really has some great techniques in its narrative that work ingeniously here. It made me appreciate the movie as a whole instead of resting my opinion on some of its Ozploitation cinema qualities only minus the comedic accent. Where Wolf Creek dives into over the top schlock, this remains firmly in terror territory.
I'm eternally grateful that Powers had the restraint to use my favorite technique of leaving the horrific scenes to the mind of the viewer. Usually reserved as a cost saving device, when the movie is good at what it wants to do. I am glad I wasn't subjected to endless scenes of heart-numbing violence. It really may have been too much.
Killing Ground creeps along quite acrimoniously at first. Just enough character development to become invested in everyone in the cast, a rarity I know. Even the antagonists German and Chook (Aaron Pedersen and Aaron Glenane) get dealt with in a subjective way. Both normal enough that they're interesting but horrid enough that you don't want to get too close.
Be warned there is some sensitive content in this. Whether it is graphically shown or not, what I imagined in my mind will stay with my for some time. The story grips you with a heavy bar and beats you down over the course of the 88 minutes inside a tension filled hopefulness.
There are plot twists and turns peppered throughout the short run-time and everything is kept neat and tidy to keep you guessing after the credits roll. For me, another realization of the fate of one of the characters dawned on me as I was picking up my toddler from pre-school.
There are totally one or two plot holes I noticed and a few scripting foibles that could have been tighter but they are minor and didn't detract from the clever film this is. Sure it's been done before, but not like this.
This is not a feel good movie, but it's good enough that Powers has quit his job, this being his début feature film. He will now be working on his life's goal of being a film maker. His upcoming feature film isbased on a short film he did called ‘Peekaboo’ and boy, it looks like a good one. This is a man to look out for.
I give Killing Ground 4 pig hunting dogs out of 5.
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