MIFF 2015 – Dark Age (1987)

Director: Arch Nicholson
Starring: John Jarrat, Steve Harris, Nikki Coghill, Cathy Pope, Max Phipps, Burnham Burnham, David Gulpilil, Ray Meagher

There was a killer crocodile movie released a few years ago that was similar to this movie, but I have not seen it. This movie has a lot of fans in the cult genre and the print screened at the festival was Quentin Tarantino’s personal copy.

The storyline is not that much different to any other killer animal movie with an initial attack being played down until there is one in broad daylight and all hell breaks loose. It is pretty graphic in this case with a young child being eaten in broad daylight.

If anything the response from the authorities was muted in this movie. If it had happened today the current government would have done everything bar nuking the crocodile to get rid of it, but they only care how much money they can dig out of the ground.

This movie did screen as part of the David Gulpilil retrospective, but he does not get to do that much in it apart from get ignored by people and a couple of action scenes.

Burnham Burnham gets a lot of corny dialog to deliver but still manages to maintain his dignity. I liked him more in the Howling III where at least he gets to be funny and take the piss on the native spiritual thing “no way I’m just gunna die!”
Another thing to appreciate in this movie is that is a rare chance to see a rare non-Home and Away performance by Ray Meagher, ya flamin’ mongrel!

Yeah, yeah John Jarrat is in it too, but he is a bit of a dork in it. The crocodile it quite well realised and they wisely keep it off screen for most of the running time except at the end.

It does say the film was shot on location in Cairns and Alice Springs, but you can see at least one pick up shot with the word “MARL-“ as in Marlo clearly visible on a building.

While I wouldn’t rush out and see this movie, it is $5 on the Umbrella entertainment website so if you are already buying a bunch of movies it would be easy enough to pick up.

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