Killing Ground

Rated 4.0

Writer-director Damien Power manages to tell a nightmarish, horrific story in a way that eschews exploitation and gratuitous violence, while still being somewhat violent and really, really scary. A young couple (Harriet Dyer and Ian Meadows) goes on a camping trip in a remote Australian location. They notice other campers nearby when setting up their tent, and Power shows us that family in a separate timeline, enjoying nature and taking strolls. Then, slowly, the true situation the young couple has gotten themselves into begins to unfold, and we are talking major levels of dread and terror. Power presents the ultimate in family horror here, but he does it in a way that generates genuine sympathy for all involved. The people going through terrible things in this movie are fleshed-out, complete characters, and the movie generates pain and anguish for their predicaments. Nothing feels schlocky or like horror porn—it’s a bare knuckled, nightmare fuel endeavor. The cast, which also includes Aaron Pedersen and Aaron Glenane as inhuman locals and toddler Liam Parkes in an incredibly moving performance—this kid will break your heart—are all first-rate. You will have a terrible time watching this movie, as well you should. It’s about terrible things, and Power, a new director with some major talent, knows how to show terrible events without being cheap. This movie is the real deal. (Available for download on iTunes and during a limited theatrical release.)