There is something about sitting down and watching a movie you know absolutely nothing about, Monster Fest has just finished in Melbourne and I played a game of roulette in choosing which films I sat through. Aussie movies got an automatic preference to the top and when I unsuspectingly walked into the cinema I was presented with the best Aussie film I have seen all year that gave not only a fantastic story but some memorable performances and a lot of fun gory bits that had me cheering in my seat. Two Heads Creek is at its heart a political satire (if it wants to be or not!) with horror elements that have resulted in this year’s most extravagant romp shining a comedic mirror on the current state of Australian society.
The film focuses around two Polish butchers Norman (Jordan Waller) and his sister Annabelle (Kathryn Wilder) who are currently living in England. When their mother passes away they receive news that requires them to visit the town on Two Heads Creek in Australia to visit a distant relative they find amongst their dead mothers belongings. The town’s main source of income is from tourism with bus loads of Asian tourists brought in direct from the airport and settled into life in Two Heads Creek before moving into Australian society.
The story takes an interesting look at modern Australian society, particularly the baby boomer generation of dominant white Australian’s with ocker slang and larrikin stereotype’s that examine the comical side of this, yet also the dangerous side when it comes to immigration and being tolerant and accepting of others. The movie presents a lot of questions about our current political climate, with some lines from character Apple (Helen Dallimore) sounding like they were lifted straight from a Pauline Hanson speech. The horror element of the story feels like an extension of all of the hate speech, like they literally turn into flesh eating zombies because they are so fuelled by hate for other humans and it fits the story perfectly.
Cast wise there is nothing but gold stars here. Waller who not only stars but also wrote the film is a charismatic lead and the chemistry with Wilder is incredible. Wilder in her own right shines as the spoiled English princess not afraid to call a spade a spade. Dallimore shines as Apple in all aspects of the role, she delivers a blissfully ignorant performance when called for, a murderous psychopath and the best rendition of Skyhooks “Horror Movie” seen on screen. Rounding out the cast are Aussie greats Kevin Harrington as Noah, Don Bridges as a racist war veteran, David Adlam almost steals every scene as the hilarious Eric and then comes in German migrant Hans played by Aussie legend Gary Sweet. If that wasn’t enough Gregory J. Fryer plays bus driver and town legend Apari and is a huge part of the surprise ending.
When it comes to gore, the film uses a lot of blood and splatters to shock and be enough to deliver a comical reaction that still has a horror/creepy element to it. The creature designs and prosthetics are well made and the sprays of blood are used effectively. Using a boomerang as a weapon in the final big battle scene combined with tools found in the shed as arsenal is incredibly authentically Australian. It also a nice change from the usual guns in a big battle scene.
The cinematography by Samuel Baulch is breathtaking, There are scenes that perfectly capture the essence of rural Australia, in particular a sunset and sunrise scene drenches the screen in beauty. Setting up a rural semi-abandoned Aussie outback town complete with sleepy pub and abandoned houses are a great representation for the lack of life in the town’s residents. There are a couple of hilarious visual winks at the start of the film when things start to look sinister that may give you a little hint as to what is going on (if you are clever!)
Two Heads Creek is an accomplishment in Australian cinema. It successfully shines a light on our current political climate and instead of lecturing and preaching, switches it up by showing a comedic light on it which invokes serious reflection. Despite the seemingly heavy message, the film is a complete blast. The incredible performances from the cast weave in with a clever story and flawless direction from director Jesse O’Brien steering the ship delivering one of the best films to come out this year. Two Heads Creek is making its way to Monster Fest in Sydney before releasing in cinemas later this year.
Review by Alaisdair Leith