So. It’s not Monday, and yet, here I am. Posting about a movie. Utterly shocking.
Anyway, I just (literally just) finished watching a film called “The Snowtown Murders.” It is the true story of one of Australia’s more recent and worst serial killers, John Bunting, who killed 11 people and convinced a few other people to help him do so.
Basically, on May 20th, 1999, police found a bunch of bodies in barrels in an abandoned bank in Snowtown. Later, they found two more bodies buried in one of the killer’s backyard. The very next day they arrested several people, and four people in all were convicted of killing a bunch of people together.
John Bunting was the ring-leader, and he convinced these guys to help him kill people because he was like Hitler – murder-y, but very personable and relatable and therefore convincing.
The movie itself delivers some great performances, and won quite a few awards on the festival circuit. It’s a very tense film, building up to the first on-screen kill for quite sometime. The set-up, as well as the beautiful-yet-desolate setting of Australia, lends a gloomy, creepy air to the whole film. Some parts of the movie made me feel gross just for watching, even though I wasn’t taking part in them. And, no, I’m not talking about the murder scenes, although the murder of his step-brother is intense and gross and twisted, and really just a pitch-perfect portrayal of a sociopathic serial killer controlling people and killing those he doesn’t deem “important.” There is a bit of a Dexter-ish thing going on at first with the kills, in that Bunting’s character claims to only kill people who are bad or who hurt children, but that pretty quickly goes out the window, as those claims so often do when it comes to serial murder.
One of the best parts of the movie is that a majority of the actors are all unknowns and this is their film debut. That said, they are all sick actors, and deserve every credit for their performances. Seriously, the acting is pretty amazing in this film. It’s also an entirely Australian movie, which I’m beginning to love more and more. Oz horror is definitely it’s own genre, usually featuring people as the monsters as opposed to vampires or zombies or what have you. Similar to French and Asian horror in that way. This film isn’t necessarily horror, but it is pretty horrifying, so I’ll count it.
I will say that if you are in any way easily triggered, or are triggered by violence, talk of sexual abuse, or scenes of sexual abuse, then you probably shouldn’t watch this. It will probably also give you a slimy feeling, and it’s pretty #dark to watch the descent of a fairly normal kid who has had some seriously shitty things happen to him into a (mostly) cold-blooded killer. I just felt really bad for Jaime (that’s the kid’s name who is basically the protagonist) throughout, even though he does kill people. He really just wants the approval and love of an adult who is using him because, while his mother does love him, she also kind of puts him and his younger brothers into situations where they get hurt. She doesn’t do it knowingly, but it seems that it is a trend, that her boyfriends are shitty and her friends aren’t much better.
Anyway, I highly recommend this film if you enjoy dark, unflinching, taut thrillers with tons of moodiness and set-up. The movie definitely takes us into a weird world where “typical” morals (murder = bad, etc.) are turned on their head and lets us see what happens when everything that we think of as “good” is taken away and twisted into something very dark and very “bad.” It’s a very good story and it’s told in a really unique way, I think. Here’s the trailer! It’s a bit off with how it portrays the film, but it’s got the mood right, for sure. Enjoy.