The Amity Affliction

[FILM REVIEW] Killing Ground

Killing Ground - Killing Ground

Director: Damien Powers
Writer: Damien Powers
Stars: Aaron Pederson, Aaron Glenane, Harriet Dyer, Ian Meadows
Release Date: Screened as part of MIFF 2016. Release date TBA
Genre: Thriller
Reviewed by Dave Griffiths
David rated it: 4 Stars


Australia has always been a country that knows how to make good horror films, even big time directors like Quentin Tarantino openly admit that it was the early Ozploitation films that started them on their bloodthirsty quest. Well now the Aussie horror class of 2016 is starting to present itself to the public and excuse the pun, but we’ve got some ‘killer’ films including the magnificent Killing Ground.

Killing Ground has a pretty simple storyline. A couple made up of young doctor Ian (Ian Meadows – Scar Campaign) and his devoted girlfriend Sam (Harriet Dyer – Ruben Guthrie) head to the bush for a New Year’s camping trip. On arrival at their picturesque camping spot, they find the belongings of the camp’s previous visitors, Mum Margaret (Maya Stange – Garage Days), alternative Dad Rob (Julian Garner – Head On), troubled teenage daughter Em (Tiarnie Coupland – Love Child) and their toddler. But there is no sign of the family at all.

Then when the toddler turns up, soon Sam and Ian find themselves being lured into a trap by the psychotic locals German (Aaron Pederson – Mystery Road) and Chook (Aaron Glenane – Drift).

It is the simplistic nature of Killing Ground that makes the film work so well. While supernatural horror is always good for a fright here and there, it is the realistic horror like that depicted in Killing Ground that disturbs its audience. To his credit director/writer, Damien Power (first-time feature director) keeps the naturalistic feel to this film right throughout, allowing the deadly cat and mouse chases through the bush to create the suspense rather than stooping to cheap scares.

Power also needs to be congratulated for not following so many other horror filmmakers out there and toning back his film. The scene in which Chook and German torture the family may be hard for some audiences members to watch but it is also one of the things that make this film stand out from the hundreds of other horror flicks released this year. Likewise, some of the dialogue used by Sam and German may not be politically friendly, but sadly that’s how psychos like that speak.

With such an intense film it is little surprise that the acting here is top notch. Ian Meadows backs up his recent excellent performance in Scare Campaign with some strong acting and alongside Harriet Dyer and young Tiarnie Coupland (who gets put through screen hell) announces himself as part of a talented bunch of actors to watch in the future. Aaron Pederson apparently enjoys the challenge of playing the villain instead of the hero, and he is well supported by Aaron Glenane who plays the deranged Chook very, very well.

Killing Ground is a vicious horror that stands out thanks to some amazing work from director Damien Power. The naturalistic feel of this film will have you nervous in your seat and vowing never to go camping again.


Killing Ground is set to screen as part of:

The Monster Fest Travelling Sideshow are on sale now at:
Event Cinemas George Street
505-525 George St, Sydney Australia
+61 (0)2 9273 7300

Single Session Tickets: Adult $21 / Concession $17.50
5 Film Multi-Pass: Adult $82.50 / Concession $71.50
10 Film VIP Pass: Adult $132 / Concession $110

Dave Griffiths
Dave Griffiths has worked as a journalist for over twenty years now -covering topics including film, television, music, travel and sport (with a main focus on AFL Football).

That time has seen him host the popular X-Wired television program for seven seasons as well as write for various magazines such as Buzz Magazine, Heavy Mag, Stage Whispers, The Banner and Eternity..

He has even branched out into writing online for Subculture Entertainment, Media Search and The Book The Film The T-Shirt. He also worked as the online editor for Entertainment 360 for three years.

Dave's radio work has seen him work on various radio stations including 3RPP, Triple R and Light FM. He is currently the resident film reviewer on Sydney's 2UE radio station and can be heard reviewing what is new at cinemas and on DVD each week on Thursdays at 3pm with Ed Phillips. He is also the co-host of Melbourne's 94.1FM's breakfast show 'The Motley Crew' and he can sometimes be heard on J-Air's 'First On Film'. David is also the co-host of two popular podcasts - ‘The Good, The Bad, The Ugly Film Show,' and 'The Popcorn Conspiracy'

As far as Film Reviewing goes David is an elected committee member of AFCA (Australian Film Critics Association and a member of IPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics)/FIPRESCI (Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique).

He has also served as a jury member for a number of international film festivals and is considered an expert on cult cinema, horror movies and Australian films.
Digi Mag #21

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