Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Film Review: The Snowtown Murders (2011)

The Snowtown Murders (Review)
Australia/2011
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

Jamie's life is unstable and hopeless; he's a poor kid being molested by his half-brother and his neighbor. That is until John Bunting enters his life as a father-like figure - he brings the stability and security Jamie's been longing for in his life. However, John is a manipulative bigot with horrifying ulterior motives...

The Snowtown Murders is based on a real story; it's a chilling account of John Bunting's disturbing killing spree field by the hatred of obesity, pedophiles, and homosexuality; it's a story of broken people, manipulation, and terror. The Snowtown Murders focuses on Jamie Vlassakis' struggle as much as it focuses on John Bunting's motives. There's a haunting, intense scene where Jamie is forced, by John, to shoot an innocent dog. And, John, devilishly and emotionlessly, watches and finishes the job afterward. There's brutally vivid torture, although much is done off screen. However, many scenes are prolonged which make them lose their effectiveness a bit. What I mean is: transition and miscellaneous-like scenes, such as watching a train ride by for a minute, take up too much time. So, the film overstays its welcome by a significant margin. I understand the purpose of these scenes: to create a dreadfully tense psychological atmosphere; it just didn't work for me. It is also a bit confusing due to its off-screen action, so you often have to assume.

The acting was great from the entire cast. Lucas Pittaway does a great job as a frustrated, hurt, and lost teenager. Daniel Henshall plays John sinisterly and effectively; the way he speaks and reacts to certain situations is powerful. The music is also great, matching the dark tone of the film.

Overall, The Snowtown Murders is a chilling and disturbing drama. The main problem lies within its unjustifiably inflated runtime; it often feels uneventful, which may cause it to lose its audience at times. I won't lie: my mind drifted off more than once. The slightly confusing storytelling also hurts the films immersion. If you can handle this bleak, disturbing story, then it's worth watching.

Score: 7/10 
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood, including torture, and full-nudity (male and female).

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