Saturday, September 27, 2008

Dark Age (1987)

This film was screened as part of the Fantastic Fest's "Not Quite Hollywood: Best of Ozsploitation" series. It was the first film of the series that I saw, and to be honest, it was little underwhelming. Basically, an Australian-set version of "Jaws," (mixed with a little "Free Willy," so to speak) "Dark Age" is about a park ranger named Steve (John Jarratt) who, along with two local guides, Oondabund & Adjaral, set out to hunt down and capture a giant man-eating crocodile, known as Numunwari, before a group of vengeful poachers (led by an actor channeling Shane-MacGowan) get to it first. The Australian government hires to Steve to put an end to the croc killing spree, but the Aboriginal guides believe that the croc harbors an old spirit that must be preserved.

There's a scene early on in the film where the croc comes face to face with a small little boy (probably 3 or 4 years old) and swallows him whole, while the little boy's family and the rest of the bystanders watch on. It's always intense when children are put in harms way in the movies, but it's a guaranteed shocker for a film to call the bluff, so to speak. After that sequence though, I felt the pacing slowed down too much for a Thriller. I felt that after it's inspired opening 20 minutes or so, the film just kind of flat-lined until the last 20 minutes kicked in.

The movie was well filmed and had a fairly strong production value, even with the big plastic crocodile (which doesn't really start to look bad until the final sequence, and even then, it looked better than the one from "Eaten Alive)." There were some decent performances, especially from the Aboriginal guides (played by Burnham Burnham & David Gulpilil) and the lead poacher. Plus, there was one excellent chase sequence near the end.

All things considered though, not bad for a one-time viewing, but certainly not the balls-to-the-wall-insanity-thrill-ride I was expecting.

"Dark Age" screened at midnight on 9/17/08 at the Alamo Ritz, and was presented by Weird Wednesday.

1 comment:

Tanisha and Rhonda said...

the aborigines man in the picture was in wim wenders' "until the end of the world". i love that movie.