Australia (dir. Rupert Glasson)
Cast: Lisa Chappell, Robert Taylor, Terry Camilleri, Geoff Morrell, Sam Parsonson, Jodie Dry
Synopsis: This tense psychological thriller tells the story of a woman unable to conceive a child with her husband, despite years of trying. In a desperate and drunken mistake, she sleeps with a young stranger. Determined to prove his paternity, his intentions soon become terrifyingly psychotic and the young woman finds herself at the centre of a psychological and brutally physical battle which she must win if she is to survive and have the family she longs for.
Review: “Coffin Rock” is less of a horror film and more of a psychological thriller than anything else. There are some instances where the horror elements outweigh the thriller elements, but for the most part this is just a standard thriller about a psychopath preying on a vulnerable woman. The movie is basically one long, steady, slow burn towards a horror movie ending that might toy with your patience just a touch. By the time the film’s psychopath really loses his shit altogether, there’s not enough time for the horror elements to fully kick in and exert their effects on the audience (i.e. tense chase scenes, gory deaths, vengeful kills etc.). All you end up with is a low body count and a lesson about being careful what you wish for, but it’s an interesting film nonetheless with an original concept.
A husband and wife couple desperate for children begin exploring the reasons for, and possible solutions to, their infertility. After visiting a fertility clinic in the city, the wife is briefly noticed by the clinic’s young receptionist, a psychopathic teenager who for some inexplicable reason becomes attracted to the wife after seeing her for merely a few seconds. Why, of all the potentially hundreds of desperate, infertile, women that must pass through the clinic on a daily basis, the kid singles out this woman isn’t made clear, but the fact is that he does and she now becomes the object of his psychopathic affection. He ditches his job and travels to the semi-deserted township where the couple lives and sets himself up in a rundown trailer to be nearer to the woman. A lot of the time spent on this character’s development is dedicated to showing him place angry or boastful phone calls to his (later revealed to be) deceased father (he killed him in a fit of rage for reasons unknown) or watching him nurse a kangaroo as if it were a baby. I think we are meant to believe the kid was being put down by his father (i.e. “you’re not doing anything with your life by working as a receptionist in a fertility clinic!” ranting) so the kid decided fathering a child was the best way to prove he was an “adult”. Yeah, that’ll show ’em!
At first the wife thinks the teen is just some harmless runaway kid with a fondness for baby kangaroos. She shows him some kindness here and there, but for the most part keeps her distance. Eventually, after a night of heavy drinking spurred on by the arrival of a document that outlines the reasons for the couple’s inability to conceive (a document which, as fate would have it, is tragically left unopened until the end of the film), the wife is willingly seduced by the teen – but from the audience’s perspective, it’s really more like she was raped (although mildly willingly).
After realizing she is pregnant, the wife immediately assumes the baby is a result of her one night of unintentional cougar-ing. Of course her friends and family automatically assume the husband and wife have finally conceived a child, which leads to the wife subjecting to the harassment and further stalking by her teenage lover who is more than willing to accept his new fatherhood. What follows is a cat and mouse sort of game where the teen continuously harasses the wife while she tries to protect her husband from the truth and ultimately keep her baby.
Of all the “harassing” things the teenager does the worst would have to be leaving a dead kangaroo in the couple’s nursery room crib. It was a pretty messed up scene. Another creepy instance would be the kid just randomly standing outside the couple’s window, drawing a heart on the fogged up glass – creepy to the max, but unfortunately revealed at the climax of the movie’s trailer (so if you catch the trailer before the movie, you’ll have this tense little scene spoiled before you can watch it in the context of the film. The psycho teenager doesn’t really do much else besides kill one guy (a not so likable character, so you won’t really care) and attempt to kill one of the wife’s nosy friends.
The film is produced by the same team responsible for “Wolf Creek” and all it’s wonderful shots of the Australian wilderness. They once again succeed in capturing Australia’s beautiful vistas and strikingly lonely outback in “Coffin Rock”. The dialogue, rife with Australian accents, in this film can be mildly difficult to sit through and fully understand without subtitles but for the most part it’s a fairly coherent film with a decent script to boot. The acting is believable, the soundtrack is perfectly minimal, and the storyline is a refreshingly realistic one. With a bit of patience from the viewer, this film proves to be a generally rewarding one with a very tragic ending that you may or may not expect.