Savages Crossing (2011)

Sex :
Violence :
Director Kevin James Dobson
Writers John Jarratt, Cody Jarrett
Starring John Jarratt, Craig McLachlan, Sacha Horler, Jessica Napier
Genre Thriller
Tagline Revenge runs deep


"No way in or out unless you have a bloody big truck." - Kate

Sue and her son Damien flee their swish suburban home after learning Sue's husband Phil has been released from some unstated institution. Seems Phil might have a few Roos loose in the top paddock and is adamant he wants a settlement from the failed marriage. Sue is heading for her sister's place but the Aussie weather has other ideas and torrential rain strands Sue and Damien in Savages Crossing, an outback truck stop in the middle of nowhere. Kate and the taciturn Mory run the place, also stranded are Shae and Mickey, two chicks out for a bit of adventure.

Naturally Phil manages to find Sue at the local roadhouse, there not being a lot of roads apparently in this part of Australia and starts demanding things from her. Mory steps in as the situation gets heated and the situation only worsens when Cop Chris shows up and starts to rough up Phil. Naturally things escalate and Phil escapes into the bush with a weapon. As the rains finally eases Phil proves he will do anything to get to Sue, but is Sue the victim she claims to be?

Savages Crossing is one of those movies that promises you a whole bunch of excitement but decides not to deliver on that as you follow the rather meandering path toward a conclusion that really isn't setup well. Kind of like that hot chick in college that finally agreed to go out on a date with you and then proved to be the biggest airhead on the planet with fundamental Christian values, the flick fails to satisfy on most levels. While there surely is some acting talent on display, including Downunder dark genre legend John Jarratt, no one really nails their character though this could be due to the script or Director. You get the notion the movie works as a vanity piece for various Jarratt family members and not as a balls to the wall revenge flick. Got to say even when the twists came toward the end of the movie I wasn't that overwhelmed, or to be honest interested.

The movie starts with purpose, Sue flees her home with her son Damien, due to her husband Phil conning his way out of whatever institution he was incarcerated in. We quickly learn Phil is addicted to gambling, apparently lost all their money, alcohol, and getting some sort of payback from Sue. We also know the dude is heavily on meds to no doubt keep the voices in his head under control. We also learn Mory is your salt of the earth Aussie cowboy that takes it slow and let's be honest here isn't the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to other people. The rest of the cast sort of interact with the two bringing various personality traits into the equation as the plot demands.

Having set all that up, and of course isolating everyone due to the heavy rain and what amounts to flash flooding, was there only one way into the Crossing? - the movie then muddles through the middle block in a sort of haphazard fashion as Phil takes advantage of a bunch of characters who simply want to be victims while Mory turns up slightly late or under estimates Phil at every turn. About the only character who wants to get the job done is mystery dude Chris, who appears more of a nut job than Phil to be honest. There's some dumb moments through the middle of the movie that are groan inducing as the script throws them on, for example one of the folk trapped in the roadhouse is a Lesbian which leads to another character running off alone due to thinking the first chick is hitting on her. Did I mention this all happens at night with torrential rain a constant factor?

Sadly the movie doesn't turn out to be the worse horror flick ever made in Australia, there is no redeeming this one in any way.

Of course the ending looks to be pandering to our expectations till an unexpected development comes out of left field. Well okay it would have been out of left field if it hadn't been setup and neon sign posted like the sign warning motorists that the Savages creek bridge is prone to flooding, queue the ominous thunder clap. Did I want to say anything more about that, probably not a lot, flogging a dead horse comes to mind.

Throughout the movie Director Kevin James Dobson is trying to make things work on a budget of approximately pocket change, yes it's a micro budgeted horror thriller and by the gods it shows. While filming is clearly all digital, unfortunately leading to some real bad frames where it's more than noticeable, Dobson doesn't make that work for him. This movie is meant to be taken seriously, no I'm not the only one face palming over that, but Dobson does absolutely nothing to overcome the short falls in capital. The rain lasts as long as the Producers could afford the water machine, it actually cuts in and out or was that just me thinking that, the sound effects sound like they may have been added in the editing room, and there's a overall feeling that the visuals are sort of darkish in a dismal way rather than being used as a filming device. The movie looks cheap, sounds cheap, and no one could really be bothered to do anything to make anything work in its favour.

There's some very solid Aussie acting firepower in the movie, and of course Craig McLachlan, but no one outside of perhaps Sacha Horler and Jessica Napier can be bothered to actually earn their meagre pay cheque. John Jarratt (Phil) disappoints with a cut price Mick Taylor, that performance wouldn't have worked on Playschool Bro, Craig McLachlan (Mory) was just woeful, and I'm not even going to talk about anyone else simply playing up to the thirty second stereotype characters they were presented with by the script. It's all just depressing really, there's better acting to be found in movies like Houseboat Horror if we had to be brutally honest.

T&A might have been a good idea but the combined Jarratt family aren't going anywhere near exploitation, as that might have provided the audience with some sort of entertainment. And guess it's my sad duty to inform gorehounds that you aren't about to witness the second coming of Wolf Creek, there's a bit of blood but not enough to have you howling at the moon or thinking things are about to escalate.

I actually got a copy of this movie a couple of Christmas' ago but it has for no apparent reason taken me a while to get around to viewing it. I didn't miss much really as Director Dobson puts his hand up for the prize of delivering the worse Aussie horror movie ever made. I'm still going with Prey for that award, but hey could be persuaded. Savages Crossing promises a lot, delivers characters making dumb choices, and finishes without the go for broke conclusion we might have expected. No recommendation, this is one movie that you don't want crossing your path, the at times woeful movie making will simply savage your senses.

ScaryMinds Rates this movie as ...

  Was expecting a lot more than this pound puppy could throw in my direction