Reviewed by: Ryan Doom
and Bille Brown
What's it about
Four young Aussies venture deep into Tasmania to uncover not only evidence of a mysterious tiger, but the truth about a missing woman. Unfortunately, no one realizes the area they’re trekking into is populated by cannibals with nasty teeth. Will they learn the truth about the dead woman? Or will they follow in her footsteps and end up, well, dead.
Is it good movie?
If we were playing the compare and contrast game I engage my students with (ok, that’s a lie, it’s just a standard essay, no game), than I’d have to compare and contrast Dying Breed to two other films, namely Deliverance and The Hills Have Eyes. Dying Breed incorporates elements from both films, chiefly the backwoods character-driven-tale of the former, and flesh eating cannibals of the latter. However, the comparisons end there and the contrasts begin namely in characters. Instead of four men out for adventure or a vacationing family, Dying Breed utilizes the traditional four young adventurers: the jerk; the slut; the nice guy; the nerdy/unknowingly hot girl. Clichéd, yes, but director Joy Dwyer effectively allows time for the four to develop and allow the audience to actually mourn their eventual deaths (come on, it’s a horror flick, you know someone must die).
Dying Breed, apart of the After Dark Horrorfest III line, effectively utilizes the characters, allowing them to drive the film, not the horror, allowing the terror to unfold naturally and not shove it down the viewers throats. Up until the third act, I must admit I did a clock check a few times as beyond a good opening sequence, no gore, no suspense takes place for the first 45 minutes or so. Until then, everything is layered in a thick fog of suspense as the four travelers venture deeper into the unpopulated area. You know something lurks in the darkness, but whatever that unknown element is takes its time to finally reveal itself. It’s worth the wait, but at times the film tries the genre audience’s patience.
Lastly, I always dig a movie based mildly on truth. After all, nothing feels more realistic than something semi-realistic. Dying Breed claims partial fact, based around the tale of Alexander “The Pieman” Pearce, who’s showcased in the opening sequence during the late 1800’s. You see, Tasmania once was a penal colony for the Irish, and Pearce didn’t like that. He escaped several times, and on his last attempt, according to the film, he ate up his final captor and escaped. Whereabouts, unknown. Perhaps, just perhaps, he survived and passed on his cannibal sensibilities to whatever offspring he produced.
Video / Audio
Video: 16x9 Widescreen presentation
Audio: Presented with the power of 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround
Miss Horrorfest Webisodes: A collection of some of the recent horrorfest contestants. Mostly, I have always found these mildly entertaining as they're just short films made for the internet age.
Tiger by the Tail: The Making of Dying Breed A good collection of interviews that helps reveal that if a filmmaker understands the genre, than they can create something original and horrific.
I wanted to like Dying Breed. I wanted the film to hold my interest. And thankfully, despite several moments where the suspense wanes, the film manages to hold interest and deliver and all the key components I require: character, plot, gore, and suspense. In my mind, if a film can incorporate those elements, you have yourself a movie that’s not only worth a damn, but bloody entertaining.