Storm Warning – Fine Oz Horror Sailing

February 4, 2008


The new Jamie Blanks (Urban Legend) movie Storm Warning will be coming out in Oz later in the year but I had the honor of catching up with it recently on DVD. Storm Warning is a sturdy genre excursion into the backwoods of Australian swamp land where a lost boating couple come across three psycho pot growers and mayhem ensues. Storm Warning delivers a very effective piece of horror with a nod to the new torture porn trend with lashings of the ole ultra violent. This is exactly the kind of film I muted should be made back in 2005 with the MUFF manifesto ( It’s great to see post Wolf Creek these films getting up through the FFC and Film Victoria also.

The tortured fishing couple are played well by Rob Taylor and Nadia Fares. David Lyons and Mathew Wilkinson are effective as the two psycho brothers. All this is rounded out by an excellent psycho turn from John Brumpton, who somehow managed to looked utterly deranged throughout, with eyes bugging and being one scary mofo.

The script is tight by Aussie genre specialist Everett De Roche (Patrick, Roadgames, Razorback) and we are given a film that references Texas Chainsaw, Deliverance and Wolf Creek in style and tone. The always classic theme of a family of psycho’s lead by Brumpton’s demented Poppy is enjoyable and stands in for the apt horror theme of domestic abuse and family dysfunctionality.

Stylishly produced by Resolution Independant’s Pete Ford and Mark Pennell this film hopefully marks the beginning of a new genre Production House in Australia. While some online have accused Storm Warning of being too derivative they don’t realize the De Roche script originated from the golden years of horror in the 70’s. I found its tale well executed, slick, snappy and much better than most Aussie cinema fare. The Villain’s are disposed of in a overtly gory manner and that is always a good thing in a film like this.

If I was to be drawn critize I would have made the two leads in their twenties to appeal to a younger audience that lap up the new horror, tone down the slightly over wrought score and have maybe less of the sweeping tracking shots from one part of the cool set to another. A more personal less Hollywood hand held camera feel might have made the horror all the more insular, claustrophobic and terrifying. But these are small issues. The Location footage and set blend together very well and the limited CGI work is done so smooth you hardly notice what’s real and what’s not.

All involved should be very proud of themselves. For a great behind the scenes report see Micheal Helms tasty article in a recent edition of Fangoria.

Bound to be in my Top Ten Oz films of 2008. Check it out when it comes out locally or order the US DVD from the states.

Funnily enough the plot of SW about discovering a dope stash reminds me of an experience I had as a teenager working on a Mark Savage short, Beyond The Pale. We were shooting in some weird back paddock of some unknown, middle of nowhere place, Mark had discovered, with a desolate and deserted farm house. Then this weird guy came over, very upset and tried to get us to clear off. We couldn’t work out why and we ignored him and shot our scenes then left. Later while watching the rushes a friend of ours said “Hey are those Marijuana Plants”. It turns out all around us while we shot was a crop of pot and Mark, Colin, myself and the crew (who knew nothing of drugs) completely didn’t notice. Pretty fucking funny, we could understand the gentleman’s desire for us to move on. After seeing this film, I’m glad we didn’t stay longer.

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