Rams (2020, dir. Jeremy Sims)

Long-feuding sheep-farming brothers are impacted by a virus threatening their rare breed flocks. Very pleasurable comedy-drama – a remake of the 2015 Icelandic film of the same name – which transposes its story well, and which does pretty much what you’d expect, but with confident ease. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.

Relic (2020, dir. Natalie Erika James)

An old woman goes missing, but returns: her daughter and granddaughter try to care for her, but something is awry. Excellent sombre chamber piece that works both as a horror story and as an allegory of aging, the impacts of dementia, and of family responsibility. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.

Black Water (2007, dir. David Nerlich & Andrew Traucki)

A small group takes a backwater fishing excursion: they fall foul of a man-eating crocodile in the swamps. Well-sustained little Australian suspense/horror flick, making the most of location shooting and the limitations of the set-up. A belated sequel followed.

Here’s the trailer.

Black Water: Abyss (2020, dir. Andrew Traucki)

Cavers are trapped by underwater flooding and the presence of a man-eating giant crocodile. Straightforward explorers-in-peril horror (following 2007’s Black Water) that doesn’t really add much to the subgenre. Soapy interludes pass for character development between attacks/kills.

Here’s the trailer.

Son Of A Gun (2014, dir. Julius Avery)

A young convict gets in over his head with a charismatic bank robber. Generally effective crime drama with a few black comic and slightly pretentious touches. Solid performances and a matter-of-fact approach to the action help.

Here’s the trailer.

Alien Parasite [AKA The Dustwalker] (2020, dir. Sandra Sciberras)

A remote Australian desert township is attacked by extraterrestrial parasitic organisms. SF/horror that has a pleasing Outback Western feel and which starts well, but soon descends into badly-scripted and underpowered wholescale genre theft. A shame, as there’s glimmers of a much better film here.

Here’s the trailer.

Two Heads Creek (2019, dir. Jesse O’Brien)

Adopted twins flee Brexit Britain searching for their birth mother, apparently living in a remote Australian township. Scattershot horror-comedy in need of a second script-editing opinion. Competently made, and with glimmers of focus and satire, making the film all the more frustrating to sit through.

Dark Place (2019, dir. Kodie Bedford, Perun Bonser, Rob Braslin, Liam Phillips, Bjorn Stewart)

Five horror shorts concerned with AboriginalĀ andĀ Torres Strait Islander females, and with the legacies of colonialism. Not a dud among them either, with a range of subgenres and stylistic approaches (from human trafficking to vampirism, and from moody b/w to Raimi-esque splatter comedy). Each stand-alone story is brisk and effective enough to earn its place and more. Recommended.

Red Hill (2010, dir. Patrick Hughes)

The arrival of a transferred deputy to a remote Australian community coincides with the escape of a vengeful murderer. While the plot elements don’t quite work, this is nevertheless a well-staged and good-looking contemporary Western/horror hybrid, with a couple of mythic touches and a great villain.

True History of the Kelly Gang (2019, dir. Justin Kurzel)

The life of an Australian outlaw, as narrated to his child. An excellent adaptation of the Peter Carey novel, with vivid performances and a distinctive visual approach. The best movie version of the Ned Kelly story to date, and a strong arty outback Western in its own right. Recommended.