REVIEW: Killing Ground (2017)

killingground

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What is supposed to be a romantic weekend turns into a living nightmare for a couple in this feature film directorial debut from Damien Power.

Ian and Sam, a loving couple, decide to spend a romantic getaway in the form of a camping trip to an area where Ian used to go to during his childhood. Along the way, the couple gets lost and they ask one of the locals, German, for directions to the campsite. Given the correct directions, the couple heads there and once they arrive, the only thing they find is an abandoned tent. At first, they are confused but nevertheless they decide to make the most of their trip.

As the couple enjoys their weekend, in which their relationship becomes an engagement, the next day will change their lives forever. During a walk in the forest, they come across a toddler walking and covered in blood. Sam and Ian look for help and find the one who gave them directions, German, along with a cohort, Chook. However, the couple soon learn that German and Chook are not who they seem and they are now running for their lives as the crazy duo intend to make them their latest prey.

Just when you think you know every camping survival terror film, from the pioneering Deliverance to even the Friday the 13th films, one thing that is in common with those films is that the storyline is pretty straightforward. However, for his first feature film, Tasmanian-born filmmaker Damien Power did something very different with his take on the subgenre.

Taking a page from the likes of The Godfather Part II, Power’s script calls for giving the audience a juxtaposition of two time frames. When Ian and Sam see the abandoned tent, then Power invites to learn the backstory of the abandoned tent. The meshing of the time frames truly bring a presence that will keep making the viewers engaged in the story, all leading up to a shocking turning point that transitions into the final act of the film.

Another factor in the film are the performances of its cast. Aaron Pedersen and Aaron Glenane deliver some great polar opposition in their roles of the deadly hunters German and Chook. Pedersen’s German is the more level-headed, calm member of the duo who in certain conditions, will unleash an attack dog on his prey. As for Glenane’s Chook, from his introductory scene, the viewer can tell something is not totally right with this character. Chook is truly unstable and when things don’t go his way, he will unleash that instability to a very dangerous level.

Harriet Dyer and Ian Meadows make a smooth transition from a romantic couple to ones who despite still having that fear as they are being hunted, do know they have to fight to survive. The doomed family in the background are well played by Julian Garner, Maya Stange, and Tiarnie Coupland, deliver some worthy support as we see as they go from this loving family, which include toddler twins Liam and Riley Parkes as the second connection between time frames, to the victims of our deadly hunters.

Killing Ground delivers well in the camping terror film, bringing something different to the table and in an extremely good way. The performances of the cast truly help drive the film as this is one fight for survival you may want to engage in.

WFG RATING: A

IFC Midnight presents a Hypergiant Films and Arcadia production. Director: Damien Power. Producers: Lisa Shaunessy and Joe Weatherstone. Writer: Damien Power. Cinematography: Simon Chapman. Editing: Katie Flaxman.

Cast: Harriet Dyer, Ian Meadows, Aaron Pedersen, Aaron Glenane, Julian Garner, Maya Stange, Tiarnie Coupland, Liam Parkes, Riley Parkes.

IFC Midnight will be releasing the film in select theaters and on VOD on July 21.

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