Described as Ghostbusters meets The Matrix in this experimental short film from the makers of Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead!
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Directed by Nik Kacevski
Written by Nik Kacevski and Tess Meyer
Produced by George Kacevski, Tess Meyer, and Enzo Tedeschi
Starring Joshua Brennan, Charlotte Best, Coco Jack Gillies, Kaitlyn Boyé, Joshua Morton, Roger Sciberras, Ric Herbert, Georgia Scott and Diana Popovska
It was supposed to be so simple. You do a job, you make the meet, you get paid.
As an experienced flipper, Jimmy “Skinny” Skinford knows the protocol all too well. Having said that, being kidnapped and forced to dig your own grave will spanner the nicest of deals in the sharpest of ways.
But his fortune turns when a push of his dead man’s shovel unearths the opportunity of a life time; a woman, buried but still breathing, who just can’t seem to die. Her mysterious gift extends to others through touch and in her company Skinny launches head first into a scheme of unparalleled mayhem.
Coming face to face with the most depraved deviates of the criminal underworld, Skinny will have to pay his dues in order to make the meet, get his payload and have his chance at immortality.
But this gift horse comes with plans of her own, and dark consequences that threaten to sever Skinny’s world piece by piece.
Skinford will have it’s world premiere at Event Cinemas George Street, Sydney, on Sunday, March 12 at 7pm. Tickets available HERE
That shameful refusal by Australia’s top Film Reviewers to not review Wolf Creek 2 on their popular At The Movies show just won’t go away… check out this excellent article by Jessica Balanzategui in The Age.
In the late 1980’s, Mick ”Crocodile” Dundee playfully encouraged audiences to question what really constitutes a knife when you’re in the untamed wilds of outback Australia. More recently, Mick Taylor of Wolf Creek similarly compelled potential visitors to the outback to think deeply and painfully about when a knife is really a knife.
He implores some German tourists to consider ”what the bloody hell are you buggers doing here?” And rightly so, considering what lies ahead for them.
The Wolf Creek films revel in the nightmarish underside to the myths of rural idyll, mateship and charming ockerism that have become so central to our ideas of national identity.
Horror films have long crept alongside the comedies, dramas and art films that make up the bulk of our cinematic output: before Babe, the adorable little pig who dared to dream big, there was Razorback, the giant wild boar that gleefully ripped its victims to pieces. In fact, some classic Australian films that we proudly hold as pinnacles of the craft, Wake in Fright (Ted Kotcheff, 1971), Walkabout (Nicolas Roeg, 1971) and Picnic at Hanging Rock (Peter Weir, 1975), are basically horror films masquerading as lofty art pieces.
Wolf Creek 2 follows in the footsteps of these films, and in fact references Wake in Fright directly a number of times. Yet Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton, the deserved royalty of Australian film criticism, refused to review Wolf Creek 2 on their influential television program, At the Movies, despite the fact the film is currently the top earner at the Australian box office.
For decades Pomeranz and Stratton have been vital cogs in the rather badly oiled machine that is the Australian film industry. Australian releases face a David and Goliath battle from the outset, being forced to compete with the flood of heavily marketed blockbuster Hollywood films.
Throughout their careers Pomeranz and Stratton have made it their mission to champion Australian films – even the ones they don’t particularly like – by raising awareness of Australian releases through their insightful reviews and interviews. Yet it seems that films classified as ”horror” are not extended this support.
This genre bias did not start with Pomeranz and Stratton: it has been an entrenched component of the Australian film industry since its revival in the 1970s. In the 2008 documentary Not Quite Hollywood, Phillip Adams, who helped to establish Australia’s government film funding system, admits that in setting up the guidelines for funding ”many of us were very snobby about genre films, there’s no question about it. We didn’t approve of them.”
Wolf Creek director Greg McLean and producer Matt Hearn are all too aware of this issue. Hearn mortgaged his house to finance Wolf Creek; their follow-up, Rogue, was financed by American studio executives the Weinsteins; and Wolf Creek 2 was delayed for years due to funding shortfalls.
Snobbery towards horror films does nothing to help strengthen the Australian film industry. Just because a film is packaged as ”horror” does not automatically mean it is devoid of artistic and intellectual value: it just makes it easier to sell. Even Stratton, in his caustic review of Wolf Creek 2 in The Australian, reluctantly admits that the film’s cinematography, courtesy of Toby Oliver, is ”pristine”.
Wolf Creek 2 is indeed violent and confronting, particularly because of the disconcerting mash-up of Mick Taylor’s true blue Aussie humour and his sadistic, murderous intent. However, so was Wake in Fright, which Pomeranz described as ”menacing and sinister” with a ”disgustingly seedy” antagonist, yet which Stratton went on to describe as ”a great milestone in Australian cinema history”.
So, too, was the recent Snowtown (Justin Kurzel, 2011), a thoroughly disturbing film about the infamous ”bodies in the barrel” murderer John Bunting. Yet Pomeranz lauded this film – classified as an ”art film” due to its minimalist style – for it ”does not pull back from exposing the audience to … grotesque brutality”. Stratton also complimented the film on its ”dark power”.
Yet Wolf Creek 2, which employs similar tactics wrapped up in a commercially viable horror film package, is by contrast ”ugly and manipulative”.
I deeply respect Stratton and Pomeranz and have idolised them for as long as I can remember. But their refusal to review Wolf Creek 2 – even just to declare their hatred for it – points to a long-standing problem within the Australian film industry.
The confected division between ”lofty” art pieces and ”low brow” horror is outmoded and unhelpful. Horror has some powerful and revealing things to say about our society, just as art films do.
Jessica Balanzategui is undertaking a film studies PhD at Melbourne University. Her research explores the cultural power of horror films. Read more and comment at The Age HERE
Check out the trailer for the new Justin Dix directed, Australian horror movie Crawlspace… and don’t forget to check out my exclusive 2-part interview with special effects guru and director Justin Dix HERE (part 1) and HERE (part 2) for insight into Justin’s account of the film-making process, his thoughts on horror and the state of the Australian film industry. You should also check out the website for Justin’s Melbourne based SFX studio, Wicked of Oz, for information about all of his work, past, present and future HERE
The creative team behind the Australian internet sensation, ‘The Tunnel’ have begun working on another Tunnel movie! Distracted Media have also announced that The 135K Project won’t be dying with The Tunnel. A new Sci-Fi thriller titled ‘Airlock’ will be the next in line for some personalised frame-owning goodness. The Tunnel is still available as a FREE download.
Here’s the official press release:
Fans of 2011’s internationally successful local horror film, The Tunnel are in for another scare with the “The Tunnel: Dead-End” receiving funding from Screen Australia this month.
Currently in development, “The Tunnel: Dead-End” will pick up the story years later as Tangles’ sister is determined to answer once and for all what happened to her brother in the gloomy underground tunnels.
“Initially, we weren’t anticipating doing another Tunnel film but the overwhelmingly positive reaction to the original, as well as our fans clamouring for another on an almost daily basis, made us go back and give it a second thought. We weren’t going to go ahead unless we could find a story we were 100% behind, which we now have and are thrilled to have the support of Screen Australia,” said Distracted Media’s Enzo Tedeschi and Julian Harvey.
The Tunnel became last year’s most-talked about film locally and internationally based on its unique crowd-funding model and distinctive distribution. The film enjoyed a simultaneous online, DVD, theatrical, a world TV premiere on Showtime Premiere and an iPad release well as winning many industry award accolades.
Based on the success of the crowd-funding scheme for The Tunnel, Distracted Media has announced another 135k Project is in the pipeline. “Airlock” is a claustrophobic science-fiction thriller in the vein of Alien. the 135K Project.
““The Tunnel: Dead End” is a great opportunity to take Distracted Media into a different playing field but as producers we still very much believe in the basic principles of the 135k Project. Having a more mainstream film in “The Tunnel: Dead End” will enable us to up the stakes significantly with “Airlock” which will hopefully raise the bar for our free internet releases and what we can put back into their success,” said Distracted Media’s Enzo Tedeschi and Julian Harvey.
A few weeks ago at the Tom Savini Q&A at the Vanguard (more of which soon); I had the pleasure of meeting Redd Inc. co-creator Anthony O’Connor and I asked if I could interview him and the Redd Inc. team, they were kind enough to take some time out from their busy schedule to do so late last week. Below are questions and answers from Jonathon Green (writer/producer), Anthony O’Connor (writer), Sandy Stevens (producer) and Daniel Krige (director).
GEORDIE: Firstly, thank you for the opportunity to put a few questions to you and your team about Redd Inc.
JG: Our pleasure.
GEORDIE: Tom was awesome; I was starstruck for most of the night… I couldn’t begin to recall how many times I’ve seen his work on screen. He was generous, open, funny and very humble face-to-face in the bar afterwards, a true legend.
JG: He’s a great guy.
GEORDIE: The website synopsis for your movie states: “Redd Inc. is the story of a capricious, officious and vicious boss (Redd) who traps his victims and forces them to work in an horrific office of his own insane creation. They are tasked with a seemingly impossible job which they must complete or face a grisly “termination”. The casual reader could assume that there are elements of Saw-like mental and physical torture involved, or should we expect Redd Inc. to take a different approach?
JG: Redd Inc. has a few brutal kills in it masterfully rendered with the help of Tom Savini but takes a very different approach to other films. Redd considers himself an office boss and is simply after results from his workers, he’s not interested in torturing them or teaching them a lesson. He’s all about achieving important work goals which become clearer as the movie progresses and which twist the story in new directions. He is clearly deluded but the pain he inflicts is a means to an end which he believes is entirely justified. I think Redd Inc. could be better described as horror/thriller/satire than horror/torture porn.
AOC: Redd is the kind of boss who takes corporate office culture to its logical (albeit INSANE) extreme. He gets no pleasure inflicting the punishment. For him it’s nothing personal. He’s just a boss, trying to get a job done. He even gives his staff members five written warnings before it’s time to… re-evaluate their positions. Admittedly he etches said warnings into their flesh but it all makes sense to him. There’s method to his madness.
SS: Redd offers up his own version of reality and some unique office-related one-liners that explain and justify his actions… This is where the satire and dark comedy add a different element, to alleviate the tension and give some relief at times so the actions are not as horrific as the torture porn version of the genre.
DK: While the situation could sound like “Saw”, REDD INC really has its own style and tone, which has elements of comedy and humour to alleviate the moments of true horror. As for the character of Redd – he’s a charming person who just wants people to do their jobs and to do them well. As in any workplace, if a task is not completed, there are consequences.
GEORDIE: Your online ‘Act 1’, ‘Act 2’ and ‘Act 3’ challenges were a unique way to cast both in front and behind the camera. It was original and I suspect due to budget restraints, one borne out of necessity, how did the process originate and evolve, and did the results surprise you?
JG: We are proud to be the first dramatic feature film in the world to do this. It would have been cheaper to create the elements we crowd-sourced ourselves so it was not borne out of necessity but we were keen to test new, innovative ideas and to include our potential audience in the process of making the film. It evolved by just thinking about what we would like to see happen and how we could develop an audience for the film… it just seems so obvious with YouTube and all the other ways that people get to self-actualize today that this should happen. Frankly, I was surprised that no-one had ever done it before. The results are very impressive. The contributions are amazing fitting perfectly into the movie and the experiment was a huge success.
AOC: Do you remember reading FANGORIA in the 80s when they’d have an open call for zombie extras in, like, Day of the Dead and similar? I used to get sooo frustrated because I was in Australia and had no way of getting there. These days your geographical location is largely irrelevant – especially for the parts we wrote for our online crowd. We got entries from literally all over the world, which was amazing and gratifying. What was surprising is how seamlessly the entries fit into the film.
SS: it is a global marketplace and in offering people an opportunity to be involved at an early stage, it is a way of attracting a worldwide fan-based audience, who we hope will remain engaged throughout the process and will want to see the end result and buy a ticket to see the film!
DK: It was an exciting and groundbreaking idea to cast certain roles from the world wide web. We got all sorts of entries. There’s some very talented people out there… and there’s also some very, well, enthusiastic people out there! From a directorial point of view, the challenge here was to make sure the performances gleaned from this process were tonally coherent with the rest of the film.
GEORDIE: I love that you guys are ‘fiercely independent’, that seems to be the way to produce original horror these days. From Blair Witch through to the Paranormal Activity series and this latest mammoth opening for The Devil Inside; even the Australian release The Tunnel from last year. How difficult has it been to stay with the project over the last year and a half without major financial backing?
JG: Very difficult but we have stayed determined and were continually re-energised by the quality of cast and crew attracted by the script.
AOC: I think having more than just one element helped a lot. We had the script, which Jonathon and I would keep rewriting – never settling for a “just okay” result. There was the website which gave us instant feedback from our online community and there was the novel: Nothing Personal – which ties in with the movie, Redd Inc., in a really cool way. So having a variety of irons in the fire is a good thing. Also we got to meet amazing people like Tom Savini who gave us a shout out and an interview waaay before he was on board supervising special make-up effects. We also had a lot of people who would give us honest feedback. Having people who will remain honest with you in the scripting stage is a must. You might kinda hate them at the time but having people challenge you along the way really helps hone your story.
SS: it has been fantastic to collaborate on a film that does not have the restraints imposed by a studio, government organisation or other outside entity. To be in a position to make the best creative decisions with the group of people that have written, developed and slaved over the project and who have the most passion and commitment to the film, decisions that can be made on the run, on the day, on the set. A privilege and a way to remain true to the idea, no matter how crazy….. I agree that is why a lot of original horror films are made this way, with low budgets, so that there can be that freedom. We watch these films and know what the fans want to see.
DK: The completely independent approach to making REDD INC was a creatively refreshing and invigorating one. While it was a relief not to have to deal with the frustrating yard-sticks that government bureaucracies or studio figures can impose, we had to be careful not to go off “half-cocked” so to speak… Jonathon and Anthony were very diligent with script development – we all wanted this thing to be the best it could on the page before the trigger was pulled on production. Because of this REDD INC was probably more of a collaborative process than a film made through more “conventional” means – from the script development to casting, right through to the shoot, solving problems on the run and making sure we kept it fresh and original. We were all there every step of the way easing this baby from the page to the screen. It was an inspiring film to make.
GEORDIE: Is it harder to get a movie made now? Have changes in the local movie business made it harder for you to get this film made?
JG: Not at all.
SS: I don’t believe it is ever easy to get a film made, it is a hard slog every time, you have to believe in the project every step of the way to be able to have the energy to get through it all!
DK: Filmmaking is an exercise in persistence and patience no matter what the job. You really have to have inspiration and belief in your material or you won’t go the distance.
JG: You can expect a bizarre, twisted character in Redd who is exceedingly cruel in his determination as a deluded boss-from-hell but who develops a strange, uncomfortable empathy as the movie progresses. Nicholas is amazing in this role. He relishes every moment and transfixes audiences with his off-centre characterization.
AOC: When Jonathon and I were writing Redd Inc. we would talk about our dream cast. Hope was always at the top of the list for Redd because he just inhabits those meaty roles. I still love Bad Boy Bubby but with Redd, Hope has given us a truly iconic movie monster. Honestly he’s going to blow everyone away with this.
SS: It is great to see Nicholas back on the big screen, he is a wonderful, talented, dedicated performer. Nicholas brought Redd to life from the page in a way that has thrilled us all and we can’t wait to share him with our audience.
DK: It was a great joy working with Nic Hope. As a person he’s a true gentleman, and as a performer he’s dedicated and focussed on his craft. Whenever we were doing a scene, Nic would always have an internal logic for Redd’s actions. His performance approach really brought the character of Redd to life in an exciting, entertaining and terrifying way. What more can a director ask for?
For the better part of the past two decades, George Miller has made films that veered sharply away from his earliest triumphs, opting for decidedly more family-friendly fare like “Babe: Pig in the City” and “Happy Feet” than the unforgiving adventures of the “Mad Max” series. But next year, Miller returns to that franchise with the tentatively titled “Fury Road,” and even though production was aborted back in 2003 and then pushed back several times since the project was first re-announced in 2009, Miller told The Playlist that their completion at Warner Brothers is as inevitable as their conception was in his head.
High school senior Brent Mitchell (Xavier Samuel) swerves to miss a bloodied figure on a deserted country road and slams his car sideways into a tree, killing his father in the passenger seat. Six months later Brent is in a dark place, troubled by guilt over the death of his father and unable to cope with his mother’s fragile emotional state. However things aren’t all bad, he has a wonderful girlfriend, Holly (Victoria Thaine) and a good mate Paul (Andrew S. Gilbert), who has just scored a date to the school dance with Mia (Jessica McNamee). Out of the blue, Brent is asked to the dance by quiet girl Lola Stone (Robin McLeavy), he politely declines, unwittingly setting in motion his worst nightmare.
Taking a walk with his dog before the dance, Brent is drugged and kidnapped; he wakes dressed in a suit, tied to a chair in a rural kitchen which is crudely decorated for a party. Staring at him around the table is a lobotomised old woman, an odd looking man and Lola… she’s dressed for the dance.
Brent is the guest of honour and is made aware very early on what Lola and her father (John Brumpton) have in store for him… a syringe, hammer, knife and drill are on the menu.
It’s difficult to take a well worn idea and breathe new life into it. Sean Byrne has done that and more with ‘The Loved Ones’. Byrne has crafted a fantastic script that is full of warmth, violence and dark humour. He gives us believable characters, Brent, his mother and girlfriend anchor the movie with emotional depth; best friend Paul and his hilarious date with Mia provide some wonderfully awkward comic relief, and of course Lola and her father deliver the tension and violence.
The actors are all perfectly cast, Xavier Samuel is excellent as Brent, his portrayal of the insular, depressed teenager who realises through the pain that he actually has so much to live for is fantastic. Robin McLeavy and John Brumpton share an incredibly disturbing dynamic as Lola and ‘Daddy’; she’s terrifyingly real as sadistic, unhinged Lola, he is more restrained, but no less frightening as the doting dad, they play off each other perfectly. The characters are so convincing that when Lola says: “Bring the hammer Daddy” we wince at the possibilities.
Without wanting to reveal too much about how the movie unfolds, there are some incredible scenes of violence and gore that will satisfy any horror fans bloodlust. Lola’s creative use of a fork is one of the more disturbing scenes. Byrne keeps the action moving along, inter-cutting between the prom, Holly and his mothers attempts to find him and of course Brent’s problems. Byrne keeps you engaged and focused on the present throughout so when the movie shifts gears the effect is shocking, brutal and has a last half hour that you’re unlikely to forget.
The movie is taut, tense and doesn’t overstay its welcome at 85 minutes. It’s been compared to numerous horror movies, but is an original take on the kidnap/torture genre and is destined for cult status.
Quality: 4 out of 5 stars
Any Good: 5 out of 5 stars