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Two Heads Creek Main

Two Heads Creek Movie Review

Written by Rachel Knightley

Released by Signature Entertainment

article-cover

Directed by Jesse O'Brien
Written by Jordan Waller
2019, 85 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
Frightfest UK Premiere on 30th August 2020, Available on streaming platforms 7th September.

Starring:
Kerry Armstrong as Mary
Gary Sweet as Hans
Kathryn Wilder as Annabelle
Stephen Hunter as Clive

Review:

Addressing racism, bigotry, immigration and the Brexit era through the medium of cannibalism, director Jesse O’Brien (Arrowhead, Quanta) and writer Jordan Waller deliver everything you want in an all-you-can-eat horror-comedy banquet. Norman (played by Waller) has lost his mother and gained the failing family butcher shop. Targeted by turd-hurling teenagers, he’s sort-of-rescued from the rest of his life in the shop by the return, just in time for the funeral, of his estranged twin sister Annabelle (Kathryn Wilder), who ran away to become an actress and is now the face of a new laxative brand. A chance remark leads Norman to discover their mum was not their biological mother – that Mary, who gave birth to them is the other side of the world in Two Heads Creek, Australia. When they get there, the locals claim Mary is dead, even faking a funeral – badly. But spinal columns in the streets suggest there’s more going on than one woman’s disappearance.

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The concept of government-sanctioned small-town xenophobia, when officials take hatred of immigrants to the illogical conclusion of eating the perceived problem to make it go away, is absurd policy critiqued in absurdist comedy. There’s a lot to enjoy here, with a strong script that doesn’t waste a word or a shot in personality-filled storytelling. But the real reason it’s such a treat is the central relationship between siblings Norman and Annabelle. Separately they are convincing and likeable in spite of, or because of, their foibles and failings as much as their wit and strength. Together, though, they are a compelling brother-sister team with believable, fractious and loving chemistry that carries the whole film and gives a real depth to what could be treated as slapstick jeopardy.

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It shouldn’t be quite as big a deal as it is to find a film that genuinely writes women as characters, rather than “female characters”, but that’s another very welcome success of Two Heads Creek that lifts it above the genre set-pieces it’s quoting. Kathryn Wilder is pitch-perfect as the hardy and decisive yet self-involved Annabelle, and Helen Dallimore as Apple is as powerful and convincing as village rock star as she is as matriarch. While her set-piece rock video section takes a step too far outside O’Brien’s well-established world, Dallimore’s performance stays huge and truthful, making it easy to forgive a slip in pace.

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All idiots are equal in this unapologetic ninety-minute take-down of bigotry. Stereotypes and prejudices of all nationalities, ages and backgrounds are treated with the absurdity racism deserves. This is a film that never forgets what it’s about, visually witty right to the end and remaining true to the story it’s telling, never wasting words or slacking on imagery to do the telling. The storyline may not be breaking new ground in genre terms, but it’s a genuine laugh-out-loud, confidently and elegantly written adventure into human idiocy, and like all good caricatures it comes from recognisable points about humanity’s potential for good and evil. The stylised violence and quoted cannibal scenes might not be subtle, but they are sublime.

Grades:

Movie: 4 Star Rating Cover
Buy Amazon Uk


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