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Directed by Mike Green
Written by Mike Green and Brien Kelly
Starring Taylor Wiese, Lauren Lofberg and Brendan Donoghue
“This is a film where an entire country is the villain and its machete is snakes, scorpions, isolation and the harsh Australian sun.”
by Matthew Eeles
Despite a plethora of Australian films depicting otherwise, the Australian Outback is one of the most magnificent places on Earth. It’s a thing of endless beauty, breathtaking landscapes and alluring landmarks. The Outback’s dangers are ever-present, and it demands respect. You shouldn’t ever consider exploring it without the proper education and equipment to ensure your survival.
First-time feature filmmaker Mike Green has done a tremendous job exploring these dangers in his new film, Outback – a survival nightmare based on the true story of an American couple, Wade (Taylor Wiese) and Lisa (Lauren Lofberg), who become stranded on their way to Uluru. Think Gerald Rocionato’s Cage Dive on dirt.
While Outback is a tense, nail-biting thriller at its heart, the film leans heavily into the horror genre with plenty of blood and flesh wounds to satisfy the most hard-core gorehound. Outback’s heart-racing thrills come courtesy of the film’s Jason Voorhees; Australia. This is a film where an entire country is the villain and its machete is snakes, scorpions, isolation and the harsh Australian sun.
It’s not just nature and creepy crawlies that evoke terror and keep us on the edge of our seats for an hour and a half. It’s also Green’s ability to make everything on screen hair-raising from a water bottle full of urine to a novelty plastic straw. Even a simple shot of a dusty dirt track will cause anxiety for viewers. That’s what makes Outback such a success.
Of course, Outback wouldn’t work at all if its two central performances weren’t so genuine. In their first lead roles both Lofberg and Wiese are completely believable as two lovers who are forced to endure the worst nightmare imaginable while on the verge of a slow and agonising death.
In terms of quality, Australia has had a mixed bag of thrillers set in the desert. Mike Green’s Outback stands out as one of the better ones in recent years.
You can see Outback at Cinema Nova in Melbourne on October 12 and Event Cinema George Street in Sydney on November 2. Details here.
Cinema Australia’s Star Ratings: Unmissable (5 Stars), Brilliant (4 Stars), Excellent (3 Stars), Average (2), Crapola (1 Star)