The Outback (aka Prey) Movie Review
Written by James "Spez" Ferguson
DVD released by Top Cat Films
Directed by Oscar D'Roccster
Written by John V. Soto
2009, 83 minutes, Not rated
DVD released on July 13th, 2010
Natalie Bassingthwaighte as Kate
Jesse Johnson as Gus
Christian Clark as Jason
Natalie Walker as Ling
Ben Kermode as Matt
Kristin Sargent as Annika
I should have known something was up with this movie right when it started. The screener I popped into my DVD player clearly said The Outback but the film is actually called Prey. The film's website says Prey and aside from the disc I see no mention of The Outback. Weird.
So what's The Outback about? Six Aussie twenty-somethings take off on a trip to a secluded beach to get away from it all. On the way, they encounter a mysterious disappearing hobo who sells them an overpriced map and tells them about a watering hole they should check out. Seeing as they're in the middle of the desert, they decide to try and find this pool to hang out for a little while. They get lost and then they start dying under mysterious circumstances. It seems that the aforementioned hobo is actually some weird Aborigine witch doctor that's out to feed these ancient Australian snakes.
This seems pretty cut and dry, and it is. If the story were tweaked a little bit it would be quite interesting. Unfortunately the characters are bland and don't have much in the way of development. Whatever personality traits can be drawn up are done so only by reinforcing stereotypes (e.g. the hippie girl who likes crystals, the fashion conscious gay guy). The villain is mostly off-screen and is not given a history at all. He serves these snakes which aren't given a back-story either. After performing a little ritual, our Aussies start dropping like flies. One of them is crushed by a car when trying to dig it out of a ditch. Another is bit by a dozen snakes and one of them literally just gets buried in the dirt off camera only to be found by the survivors.
What struck me as really odd was how calm these people took the deaths of their friends. Is Australia really that tough of a place that if you're out on a road trip with some friends and one of them dies mysteriously that you just carry on with the drive? And then when another one or two of them keel over you just continue on like normal?
The snakes are done in complete CGI which was pretty mediocre. The deaths and undeaths (once they're dead they come back sometimes) also needed some more CGI work or a good makeup artist which would have been preferable. There were some good shots of the outback that showed just how vast and empty the area was. Maybe that's why they didn't mourn their losses. Otherwise they'd just be stuck in the desert crying and wasting water.
Also, I think director Oscar D'Roccster should take the pompous stick out of his ass because if your movie is in English and all of the credits are in English your credit shouldn't say "Un film de Oscar D'Roccster." That's just you being a douchebag.
The Outback is a film that needs some work. The script could be re-worked to make me care about the characters. The effects could be a lot better. The story could be changed to provide an actual plot. It could also do away with the trappings of the modern day horror film with the scratchy quick takes like in The Ring. Seriously, I don't need a seizure when I'm trying to watch your movie.
Video, Audio and Special features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screener.