Killing Ground Blu-ray Review
Written by Robert Gold
Blu-ray released by Scream Factory
Written and directed by Damien Power
2016, 89 minutes, Not Rated
Blu-ray released on November 7th, 2017
Harriet Dyer as Sam
Ian Meadows as Ian
Aaron Pedersen as German
Aaron Glename as Chook
Julian Garner as Rob
Tiarnie Coupland as Em
Maya Strange as Margaret
Rob and Margaret are enjoying the woods near a remote campground with their children Em and Ollie. Hiking, grilling and exploring are just some of the activities in their beautiful surroundings. Sam and Ian meanwhile are out for a romantic weekend getaway when they come across a deserted campsite. Their curiosity turns to alarm when they soon discover an abandoned baby wandering the woods. Car trouble prevents them from going for help, but luckily they are not alone. A man arrives on the scene and offers to assist and they graciously accept. They may be a bit too zealous in their appreciation, as the stranger appears more eager to lead them deeper into the woods rather than escorting them out. Does he mean them harm or is he simply trying to help? I won’t say any more, but be aware that not everything here is as it seems.
Told in parallel storylines, the filmmakers keep audiences engaged in how things will play out, as information is only shared sparingly. Written and directed by Damien Power, the film moves at a swift pace and is very well crafted. Similar in tone to 1970s thrillers like Deliverance, this picture is haunting in its study of human behavior. Also working in its favor are the stellar performances of the central cast. Harriet Dyer and Ian Meadows are wonderful as Sam and Ian respectively. They are instantly likeable as a happy young couple who behave responsibly and react believably to their stressful situation. Power’s script is not insulting and allows room for people to act naturally without forcing them to make dumb mistakes to advance the story. It is refreshing to see characters make tough but smart choices when placed in terrible situations.
Damien Power makes an impressive directorial debut here and I look forward to his next feature. Simon Chapman’s cinematography is equally pleasing in depicting the sharp contrast between the beauty of nature and the evil that men do. I was ahead of the story in some respects but still found the presentation entertaining. I came to Killing Ground without having any knowledge of the plot and I never saw a trailer, so I was pleasantly surprised to like the film as much as I did. Sometimes going in blind is a rewarding experience and that was clearly the case here. Power is not afraid to go dark with the material but is accomplished enough to avoid the trappings of the genre and he delivers a truly engrossing movie. Do yourself a favor and check it out and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Video and Audio:
Presented in the original 2.35:1 aspect ratio, the picture receives a strong transfer. Colors are bold and flesh tones appear natural throughout. The lush landscape is captured beautifully and there is plenty of small-object detail.
Both a DTS-HD MA 5.1 track and a DTS-HD MA 2.0 mix are respectable options here. The sound design is solid and comes to life in the 5.1 option with plenty of subtle atmospheric activity for the surround speakers.
Optional English and Spanish subtitles are included for anyone in need.
The theatrical trailer is the only available supplement.
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