Monday, April 13, 2009

Dying Breed

It’s that time of the year: The Eight Films To Die For have been released. Or as I like to call it: Masochism Theater!

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: A group of callow young people journey into a wilderness for some half-baked purpose, and run into inbred cannibals. If you are a huge fan of the Twilight series, this might be a new one to you, but if you watch the sort of mind-corrupting stuff featured on this site, you’re probably tired of the concept. But that is the plot of Dying Breed. It is the first horror movie I can think of set in Tasmania.

Two young men and their two girlfriends go to one of the more isolated parts of Tasmania in search of the allegedly extinct Tasmanian Tiger. The sister of one of the girls previously came to the same location to look for the beast, and ended up drowned after being missing for a year. It ultimately turns out she was kidnapped, gang-raped, forced to give birth, and had her teeth forcibly extracted, none of which is discovered by the authorities, which makes me think there probably isn’t a show called CSI: Tasmania. Anyway, they are determined to find the TT so sis’ life won’t have been in vain.

Problem is, the portion of Tasmania they explore exploring was the old stalking grounds of Alexander Pearce, an escaped convict and cannibal from the early 19th century. The current residents of the area are all descended from him, and have inherited a taste for human meat. Pretty soon, the expected happens.

The first big problem is the potential victims just aren’t likeable enough to make us root for their survival. One of the quartet (Jack) is one of those characters that only occur in fiction, and we’ve talked about his type before: the character so obnoxious he couldn’t exist in real life. Yet here he is, and soon after we meet him, we’re looking forward to his horrible death. The others are almost as bad, being completely useless in a crisis. They go to pieces when things go bad. One of them, Matt, finally weapons up with an axe (after the axe has already been the hero prop in a couple of scenes) but manages to drop the damn thing four times before finally losing it without putting it to use. The basic strategy for the victims is to immediately split up in the face of danger, so they can be picked off one by one. The ending is supposed to be a shock, but I mainly found it goofy.

Australia has produced some good horror movies in the last few years: Wolf Creek (which this seems to be inspired by), the underrated Rogue, the quirky Undead, and so on. This isn’t one of them.

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