The soundtrack is stark and droning, the imagery is shadowy and oppressive, and the characters are dehumanised by the dirt, the cold and big bushy beards that make then difficult to differentiate. The most disturbing part of the film however, is when they decide to kill an unlucky member of the gang to form the basis of their next non-vegetarian friendly stew. This is invariably carried out by sneaking up behind the unfortunate comrade and whacking them with a sickening blow from the back of an axe. The accompanying sound effects and body convulsions are some of the most shocking scenes I’ve witnessed recently outside of Antichrist. It’s not pleasant, but after this the scenes of stew munching seem tame by comparison, although I doubt Linda McCartney would agree.
It’s another grueller to sit through and would seriously benefit from some humour, hope or even someone doing magic tricks or juggling. There is nothing positive on show for humanity in Van Diemen’s Land, only a selfish and steadfast will to survive. Maybe evlkeith will love the copious tracking shots of dense forest and undergrowth, but for me the film was a soulless piece of historical grit that depressed rather than inspired.
Maybe they should do a remake with Ben Fogle, Ray Mears and Bear Grylls to lighten the mood?
If you like this you could also try:
Alive, Cannibal Apocalypse, Cannibal Holocaust.