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New Release Review - THE PASSAGE (DVD)

Horror inspired by an Australian urban legend.


Review by Emily Craig (@emillycraig)

Directed by: David Campbell

Starring: Jessica Tovey, Nicholas Gunn, Pippa Black




"The characters are stale and the acting is wooden, with the exception of Jessica Tovey, who makes the film somewhat bearable. Horror films are supposed to be full of scares and have spine tingling finales - this forgettable film had neither."




First time director David Campbell brings Aussie film The Passage (known as Lemon Tree Passage in America and Australia) to our screens, an urban legend horror flick. The film is apparently inspired by real events; the opening of the film includes an actual YouTube video of an unknown light appearing in the middle of Lemon Tree Passage as people speed by; the film is based on the footage, hence it being inspired by “real events”. Since the emergence of the clip, people on the web have come up with numerous stories as to why the light appears, the most familiar one being the story in the film – the light is the spirit of a motorcyclist who got ran over by teenagers in a speeding car. The whole film is based on this myth but half way through we realise that it is not the legend that is causing the light – kind of pointless, right?
Three Americans are on holiday in Australia; brother and sister Amelia (Pippa Black) and Toby (Tim Pocock) and friend Maya (Jessica Tovey). The trio are messing about on the beach when they meet two Australians, hunky Geordie (Tim Phillips) and joker Oscar (Andrew Ryan). There is then a nauseating sequence accompanied by terrible dialogue of them playing cricket on the beach followed by horror stories by the camp fire. After Oscar tells the “real” story of the light at Lemon Tree Passage, the quintet decide to drive past to see if they can catch the mysterious entity; after they see it, things take a turn for the worse.
What’s mostly wrong with this film is that the plot is so flawed and overly complicated. Geordie has a brother named Sam, an eerie character whom we see random scenes of throughout the film that don’t seem to be coherent with the main plot; he is entered into the plot twist at the end of the film but by then I had already lost interest as the clues that were given earlier in the film are unsolvable. I don’t want to give away what the light is in the film but here’s a clue – it’s really stupid. As characters start to get killed off, Maya seems to be our main point of focus, as she’s the one who sees pointless flashbacks and finds relevant newspaper cuttings only to not share them with the rest of the group.
The characters are stale and the acting is wooden, with the exception of Jessica Tovey, who makes the film somewhat bearable. Part of me thinks that the writers should have axed their overcomplicated plot and just stuck to the original urban myth; it would have been a lot simpler and made for a better film. Or, they could have developed their story earlier in the film, instead of leading the audience into believing that what they are watching is a story about an angry motorcyclist for half of the film, as when the big twist is finally revealed, all hope is lost. Horror films are supposed to be full of scares and have spine tingling finales - this forgettable film had neither.




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