Killing Ground is a new Australian horror/thriller that follows in the famous footsteps of the 2005 Australian hit, Wolf Creek, re-invigorating the haunting idea that if you’re alone in the Australian outback you’re as good as dead.
Young couple Sam and Ian head into the Australian bush for a relaxing New Year’s Eve spent camping together, though they’re not the only ones with the get-back-to-nature idea. As they set up their tent on the white-sand beach next to the wide river, they notice another tent and camp set up further down the way, but not a person in sight. The next morning, with still no sign of the other campers, the worried couple head back to the car in an attempt to fetch help. On the walk back they discover a toddler all alone and covered in dirt, and the mystery of the missing campers begins to feel a lot more sickening.
Concurrent to the young couple’s trip, the audience is shown a family of four enjoying a relaxing time camping on the same beach in the site that had been noticed by Sam and Ian, and it becomes obvious that this is a glimpse into the past. As time passes and the scene’s switch between both time zones, both sets of campers become joined in a horrific, murderous game.
This is NOT a film for the faint-hearted as director Damien Power takes us deep into what truly feels like a horrific, brutal nightmare that just won’t end. The dark depths of psychotic horror into which this film delves are merciless and disturbing, similar at times to Wolf Creek, but on occasion, sometimes even worse (if you watch it you’ll see what I mean). The film’s camp-site location has a haunting history of an Indigenous massacre 200 years ago which ties in with the modern-day slaughter Killing Ground distressingly delivers.
To emphasise the overwhelming vastness of the bush, Power uses large-scale aerial shots of the never-ending, green and brown landscape and winding, empty dirt roads devoid of human life. These shots are combined with a soundtrack that alternates between eerie, tension-building music and almost complete silence which is only broken by the fractured sounds of the bush.
Terrifyingly talented Australian actors Aaron Pederson and Aaron Glenane embody the psychotic and murderous country pals, German and Chook, heartless criminals with violent pasts. As the film advances, the acts these men are capable of become progressively monstrous and depraved. Both actors chillingly portray their psychotic characters with total conviction. They will truly terrify you.
Killing Ground is a merciless Australian thriller that has the power to traumatise an audience. If you were a fan of Wolf Creek, then this is definitely a film for you.
Check out the official site here.
Reviewed by Georgina Smerd
Rating out of 10: 7
One-word verdict: Traumatising