Film: Killing Ground
Director: Damien Power
Writer: Damien Power
Starring: Harriet Dyer, Tiarnie Coupland and Aaron Pedersen
This film begins with a couple going camping for New Year’s Eve in Australia. They stop off for directions and to grab some alcohol. A truck pulls up next to them with a dog in a cage on the back of it. The dog starts to bark at the woman, who is played by Harriet Dyer. Her boyfriend is played by Ian Meadows. The man who drives the truck is Aaron Pedersen. Meadows asks him for directions to a local camping spot. The man tells him that the road is bad and he should go to a place a little further up. Meadows tells him he will consider that.
The couple gets back on the road. They are talking as they drive and Meadows notices that Pedersen is behind them and coming fast. He almost misses his turn off while paying attention to him. He does turn at the last second and they have to sit there for a second, being rattled by how abrupt this was. They do proceed on. They find another vehicle parked at this site. Meadows recommends going to the other spot, but Dyer wants to check out this one first.
They go down to the river to find another tent set up. She states there is plenty of room so they should just camp on the other side of the area. Meadows agrees. They get their tent up and settle in.
The film then shifts to Pedersen going home. He lives with Aaron Glenane. Glenane is still asleep so Pedersen sends his dog in to wake him up.
We then meet a family who is camping at this location as well. We see them before Dyer and Meadows arrives. The mother is played by Mitzi Ruhlmann. The father by Julian Garner, their daughter by Tiarnie Copeland and they have a little baby as well. We first see them a day before the other two arrive.
There is a scene where Pedersen and Glenane see a woman at a store with the baby and they are staring at her backside. That night they are at the bar drinking with two women for New Years. They run into the constable in the bathroom, he is played by Stephen Hunter. He talks with him for a bit before leaving. Pedersen is mad that Glenane has a phone and hasn’t deleted everything on it. He smashes it. Glenane then tries to make out with one of the girls and is shut down.
The couple at the campsite is concerned because that first night no one returned to the other one and still nothing the next day. Dyer decides to check the tent and finds that it has been tossed. There is no one there though. To make matters worse, we see that they have a flat tire. Meadows tries to fix it, but he is struggling with the bolts. Dyer also finds the child was left behind. He has been living in the woods for a couple days.
We then see what happened to this family. It involves Pedersen and Glenane. Glenane leaves a note at his house to Pedersen, letting him know that he is going hunting. Glenane then happens upon the couple.
What happened to the family? Will this couple meet the same fate? Can they get away from this nightmare before it is too late?
I was turned on to this film from some of the podcasts I listened to. Since it had a 2017 release in the United States, I checked it out as I was compiling my best of for the year. I have to say that this film is quite interesting. It came from Australia and have liked all the movies I’ve seen from there thus far. The story of this is interesting. What I liked best was that Glenane at first is the weaker of the two killers. It is Pedersen pushing him to do things, but I love the change that happens in Gelenane. He finally snaps and we get to see what he is really capable of in the end. Dyer also has an interesting character arc. In films like this you need the normal people to be pushed to the limit to see what they’re really capable of. We definitely get that from her. I like that the film didn’t end when I thought, but I felt how it ended was a slight disappointment. The film also had a little bit of a pacing issue in the middle as well.
The acting in the film was really good. I thought that Dyer did a great job. We get to see her normal, happy and in love. Then she is pushed to make tough decisions. My favorite part though is that she thinks Meadows does something and when she learned he didn’t, we even seen a dark, angry side of her. That was something I found quite interesting. Coupland did an okay job, but she wasn’t give a lot. I thought she was cute though. Pedersen has a way about him on the screen that I thought was creepy. I liked it. Meadows I thought was good. Like Dyer, we see him normal and then what he does when pushed to his limits. Glenane also did a very good job as well. He also goes through a transformation the more he is forced to do.
There really isn’t much in the way of effects in this film. The ones we do get were practical and I like that. The editing of the film did have a little bit of an issue for me. The film has a low running time of 98 minutes, but the film kind of lagged in the middle. I lost interest until it picks up again. From there it builds the tension until the climax like I wanted. The score didn’t really stand out to me. I do remember that for a good portion it is just natural sounds of nature. I do like that aspect. If there was a musical choice outside of the bar, then I do not recall it.
Now with that said, this is definitely an interesting film. We have a family that is attacked by two deranged hunters. Pedersen tries to steer a couple from the site of the crime, but when they still go there, have to tie up the loose ends. The acting is really good in my opinion. The practical effects are good. The editing does have some issues, but it corrects itself by the end. The ambient sound of the film does add an interesting touch as well. I do not think this is the best film out there, but I did enjoy it. I’ve stated it is from Australia, so if you have issues with accents, keep that in mind. If not, I would say give this film a shot. I think it is above average. It isn’t too graphic to what we see on screen, but things are implied and it is definitely is looking at the men that are performing these atrocities.
My Rating: 7 out of 10