If you’re thinking of a family camping trip this summer, “Killing Ground” may change your mind on that one. The same way “Wolf Creek” made the off the beaten track roadtrip a lot less appealing, “Killing Ground” introduces pure terror as a romantic trip away goes awry quickly once some unhinged locals get wind of the couple’s visit.
Starring Harriet Dyer as Sam, and Ian Meadows as her boyfriend Ian, the two go on a camping trip away together to escape reality for a weekend. After making a stop for booze and getting directions from a stand-offish local, the couple get to their spot to find that another group has set up there, with an empty tent a stone’s throw away from their set up. After a night under the stars, they soon realise the tent is still uninhabited and it starts to trigger that something may be wrong.
“Killing Ground” is by no means a new concept, with Greg McLean kickstarting the horror in the Australian outback with “Wolf Creek”, but that’s by no fault of its own. It’s like when you show up to school with a paper mâché volcano, but the teachers aren’t as impressed as you’d hope cause every kid has done it for years before you. Instead of the John Jarrett of the outback, however, “Killing Ground” introduces a duo of psychos with a tendency to violence and foul mouths. Aaron Glennane and Aaron Pederson play “Chook” and “German”, the lurking locals that stalk and kill unsuspecting campers, but not before one of the Aarons has his way with the women.
Director Damien Power has successfully created tension and uses shock factor to bring the spine tingling thrills in “Killing Ground”. The movie plays out in a non-linear format, flipping between two timelines to explain the empty tent that Sam and Ian stumble upon. The format is well done, and does bring an alternative and original view to the thriller concept.
The acting in “Killing Ground” is solid and believable, and each cast member is well chosen. Like most other movies in this genre, this story takes a bit to kick off as it sets the tone, but it doesn’t drag too long, and builds up the tension quite well once the action arcs up. Some of the themes in the movie viewers will find confronting, but it’s all part of creating realism and terror for the audience, who I’m sure may cancel any bushwalking plans they’ve had in mind.
Overall, it’s a very solid and believable film, that successfully creates terror in one of life’s many pleasurable activities.