Movie Review: There’s Something In The Pilliga

@TigersMS78 travels deep into the scrub to find out what is in the Pilliga…

Dane Millerd’s There’s Something in the Pilliga, trods the well worn POV, shakey cam, found footage path that has inudated horror for the past few years. Yes it holds all the pratfalls of the films that came before it but it does manage to provide some scares and definitely holds its on against similar films, in some areas out doing them.

Image from There's Something In The PilligaOf course the story starts with the guy holding the camera, Dylan who is talking to his truck driving mate Jay. You barely get to see Dylan’s face so the story is told from his point of view. Jay is your stereotypical larrikin, a loud mouth, crass, jerk that borders on sociopath. These two head to Baradine (a small town in remote New South Wales) for some New Years Eve fun. Whilst at the pub Jay and Dylan start chatting with two girls Liz (Leoni Leaver) and Tammy (Rebecca Callander) and after a fight with one of the locals the four of them drive away and decide to go meet Jay’s mate Hermie, a man who lives by himself, deep in the Pilliga National Park…
The film is shot very nicely when the camera is static with some great scenery shots. Millerd has a done a good job of capturing the remote expanses when in the national park, it seems like you could walk for days and not come across a trail or even another person.
image from There's Something in the Pilliga
There’s Something In The Pilliga seems to suffer from a lack of script development, the ideas in it are fantastic but by using the found footage style, it makes it harder to develop these ideas which is a shame because there is so much that is only briefly touched on that could’ve been explored and expanded upon.

The acting is a strong point, with Brendan Byrne who plays Jay doing a great job, unfortunately I have definitely met and known people like this and its fair to say that Byrne nailed his part. Leaver and Callander who play the girls are terrifically irritating to begin with, however as the situation starts getting scary, their characters change and both of these women put everything into their acting, whether it be physical or emotional and it pays off.
As I mentioned before the film runs afoul of the usual found footage gaffes, however its last 10-15 minutes are pretty good with some nice twists, if not a little running with the camera heavy. That issue aside it does have its frightening moments and if you’ve read up on Yowie’s it makes the experience all the more hair raising – and makes you far less likely to go into the Australian bush! The film is a long way from perfect but is on par with the similar themed films like Willow Creek whether that statement makes you want to see it or not is up to personal choice. There’s Something In The Pilliga is very watchable, unforunately is filled with unused potential.

Ryan Morrissey-Smith

Twitter: @TigersMS78

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