Advertisements

Dying Breed (2008)

The noble search for a dying breed leads an ambitious zoologist to the discovery of a far more sinister species in this brutal Australian shocker featuring Leigh Whannell (Saw) and Nathan Phillips (Wolf Creek).

Dying Breed was part of the third After Dark Horrorfest in 2009. The plot revolves around zoology student Nina (Mirrah Foulkes), whose sister was searching for evidence of the elusive Tasmanian Tiger when she suddenly vanished without a trace. Before disappearing, however, she did manage to send her sister a mysterious paw print that seemed to suggest that the species was still flourishing somewhere in the vast Australian wilderness. So Nina, her partner Matt (Leigh Whannell), his old friend Jack (Nathan Phillips), and his girlfriend Rebecca (Melanie Vallejo) make their way deep into the heart of Tasmania, it quickly becomes obvious that Nina is completely ignorant to one of the isolated island’s darkest legends. Back in the 19th Century, when Australia was a barren penal colony, a dangerous convict named Alexander Pierce (aka “The Pieman”), staged a daring escape from the island’s most heavily guarded prison. Later, in order to survive, Pierce resorted to eating his fellow escapees. Though Pierce would be hung for cannibalism in 1824, by the time he was captured it was already too late. Pierce had bred, passing on his insatiable appetite for human flesh the next generation. Nearly two centuries later the Tasmanian Tiger seems to have finally become extinct, though the Pieman’s lineage is still going strong. Now, in a land where human meat is scarce, Nina’s expedition will fall prey to species with a savage appetite, and a murderous motivation to keep their bloodline strong.

Pierce, along with a group of seven other convicts, escaped the penal settlement of Sarah Island on the rugged South West coast of Tasmania and disappeared into the impenetrable forests surrounding what is now the world heritage listed Franklin and Gordon Rivers. Eight escaped into the wilderness, yet Pearce was the only one who emerged. Initially, his captors didn’t believe Pearce when he claimed that he had eaten the other escapees. The troopers believed he was just covering for his mates. But then they found chunks of human flesh in his pockets. Hence, the legend of Pearce was born – and now endures… with even a river named after him… The Pieman River. The legend of Alexander Pierce is actually a true story, and this film portrays fictional descendants of Pierce as the main enemy. It was partly filmed at the real life Pieman River.

Being a huge ‘Saw’ fan I initially only watched this because I knew Leigh Whannell was in it. The fact that Nathan Phillips from ‘Wolf Creek‘ was alongside him really upped my anticipation and I wasn’t disappointed. These two put on a great acting performance, and along with the female leads, all four really do a solid job and make you care about their journey. I’m surprised to see the director Jody Dwyer hasn’t done any films since this, a shame and I hope this will be rectified very soon. The way this film is shot is also very nice, with some old footage about Pierce at the beginning and with a few flashbacks scattered throughout, it was just a really well polished film.

Once the tiger hunting gets put on hold, the action really kicks in and we see what the group are up against. Whilst it’s not an original idea to stick some people in the woods and have them chased by ‘the locals’, it still feels fresh here and as the film progresses the violence and gore kicks in and we are treated to some good kills and gory scenes. There is a really cool little ‘tie-in’ to Nina’s sister, and the ending without giving too much away really offers something different from the usual Hollywood cop-out style ending. Another nice surprise, and the little twist was very well done.

There are some beautiful shots in this movie. A couple of the more violent scenes are shot so well and a throw back to some of the older horror films such as Cannibal Holocaust with one scene in particular. The Tasmanian landscape looks beautiful and we are treated to some stunning river shots. My favourite would have to be the scene on the bridge towards the end. Just a suspense filled moment, which also looked stunning.

If I had to pick out some negatives, all I could really say is that one or two of the torture scenes looked slightly unrealistic, but I would guess that’s due to the small budget. There was also a few strange character choices, that only people (I would hope!) in the movies would make, one example being a scene with a tunnel. Not a choice I would have made. But these are minor gripes, and don’t detract at all from the overall film.

I really enjoyed Dying Breed, and it’s a shame more people haven’t seen it outside of Australia. It is easily one of the strongest films After Dark Horrorfest has produced, and again in my opinion Australia really has produced some of the best horror films in the best few years. For a small budgeted film, it really did exceed my expectations and I really recommend trying to catch it if you ever get the chance.

 

Advertisements
Leave a comment

19 Comments

  1. theipc

     /  September 12, 2012

    Those After Dark movies can be pretty spotty when it comes to quality (which is why I’ve never bothered with this). Maybe I’ll give it a shot sometime : )

    Like

    Reply
  2. Carly

     /  September 12, 2012

    This could of been me if I’d followed my original career plan! Don’t remember it being too bad but maybe I turned away at the torture scenes. Great write up.

    Like

    Reply
  3. Sounds like they mashed up The Howling III and Wrong Turn. Very curious to see how they pulled that off. Awesome review!

    Like

    Reply
    • Cheers James! Yeah a little Wrong Turn, but then again there’s some Deliverance, Hills Have Eyes, loads of good stuff, but I feel Dying Breed has enough to stand apart and offer something different.

      Like

      Reply
  4. Great write up. Not my cuppa tea, though. When we go to the movies, Garry has to put his hands in front of my eyes and tell me when it’s safe to look. I have issues with violence. Some kind of atavistic, visceral thing going back to a childhood full of real violence. I can read about it, but I can’t watch it. Silence of the Lambs required I spend half the movie with my eyes closed saying “Is it safe yet?” Kind of limits the genre for me … but I READ tons of the stuff. Go figure.

    Like

    Reply
    • Thanks!

      My wife likes some of the films I subject her to, but also covers her eyes a lot! Tricky because these days violence can look so real, too realistic perhaps, and that makes it harder for some people to watch I imagine.

      Like

      Reply
  5. atothewr

     /  September 12, 2012

    Nice write up. You got me interested in this one like you did Triangle. I might have to check it out.

    Like

    Reply
  6. Haven’t watched many Australian films so I will probably check this out 😀
    Good review 😀

    Like

    Reply
  7. Nice review, it seems worth checking out 🙂

    Like

    Reply
  8. Cool post, Tyson!

    Like

    Reply
  1. Chernobyl Diaries (2012) | Head In A Vice
  2. Kill Theory (2009) | Head In A Vice
  3. Wolf Creek (2005) | Head In A Vice

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Advertisements