July 23, 2017

Screener Review: Killing Ground (2017)

"No more camping for us. Ever."

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4728386/
Thanks to the lovely folks over at the company that handles promotion for IFC, we were able to get our hands on an early screener of Killing Ground.

Although we had to sit on the review until near release date (the Comic Con news pushed it past then), we've had a week to digest the movie, and sort our thoughts out on the matter... and we've come to the conclusion that even though it's overly-familiar and not a perfect film, Killing Ground is one hell of a wicked backwoods flick that is bound to stick with you well after it's over.

Because it sure did us.

Ian and Sam decide to spend a romantic New Years Eve camping at a remote lake at the end of a long, winding, desolate road... because they've obviously never seen a Horror movie before. They're puzzled by the empty tent they find when they arrive, and at the fact that their car has a flat tire, but hell, let's stay here anyway, because nothing bad happens to people when they camp in Australia.

"SCREAMS? LET'S JUST GO TO BED."
Margaret and Rob are also camping, but with their teen daughter and infant baby in tow. They break out the guitar, smoke with their daughter, and decide to go on a hike. Another family that clearly has watched very few, if any, Horror movies.

THAT BABY KNOWS SOMETHING ISN'T RIGHT!
The there's German and Chook; the skeevy, whiskey tango creepers who spend their time trying to pick up girls in bars, and looking for victims to rape and murder, because they obviously have seen some Horror movies, and they know how shit works.

The real fun begins when the three storylines intertwine, in a clever way, which spells disaster for every single one of them... well, most of them anyway.

"WELCOME TO AUSTRALIA, MATE."
Killing Ground is a movie that has been done before. The whole "A group of people head into the woods for a relaxing weekend, only to be terrorized by murderous locals" plot has been done to death, but here it's not only done very well, but dare we say in a clever way to boot.

The way that the timelines for each group of characters unfold may be obvious to most people form the beginning, but damn it if it didn't ratchet up the tension a few notches, and made the way everything played out far more engaging than it might have been. Of course with the film boasting a strong script and great performances to begin with, it probably would have worked either way.

Aaron Pedersen first caught our attention back in 2014 in the criminally underseen Mystery Road (review HERE.) He chewed up the screen in that excellent flick playing a quiet, tough guy who saves the day... which made his turn here as the scumbag who uses people's lives for twisted sport so compelling. The quiet menace that the guy can convey is insane, and he was a truly terrifying bad guy. If for no other reason, this movie is worth seeing to watch him work. The rest of the cast worked it out too, but he was the standout.

Of course Killing Ground is also wroth seeing because it's an effective, intense thriller that will most likely leave you shook. The target practice scene and the shot of the baby running through the woods... sweet Jesus.

THIS MAN NEEDS TO BE IN EVERYTHING.
If you travel to a remote location, find an abandoned tent, and then notice that one of your car tires is flat, can you please just get the hell out of there? Walk if you have to, but just leave?

And when a skeevy dude with a rifle slung over his shoulder shows up and asks you to take a hike into the woods with him, can you just tell him no?

Come on, people. Survival is little more than common sense!

"OI, IT'S PROBABLY NOTHING, LOVE. LET'S NOT LEAVE."
Can someone please tell us what happened to the baby? Is it still out there in the woods with Scraps? Nippy? Whatever the fuck the dog's name was?

OH WAIT, SHE'S GOT HIM...
Killing Ground is heavy on disturbing set pieces, but it's not quite a gorefest. Still, there are people being shot, and some convincing rock violence to be had.

THE LOVE SCENE.
Nope, and they even kept the rape scenes off-screen, which was a good move.

POOR GIRL DESERVED BETTER...
Yet another intense and brutal thriller from Australia, Killing Ground takes a familiar plot and does it great justice.It's not perfect (the last bit of the movie didn't feel as strong as what came before), but it's a hell of a nerve-jangling ride, and one well worth taking.

B+ 

Killing Ground is available on VOD now.

http://amzn.to/2uLg68a

Harriet Dyer and Tiarnie Coupland; two of Australia's finest.

1 comment :

  1. Banjo was the dog's name. I know this because i just finished watching it 5 minutes ago.

    ReplyDelete