The Movie Waffler New Release Review (DVD/VOD) - LOST GULLY ROAD | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review (DVD/VOD) - LOST GULLY ROAD

lost gully road review
Escaping her abusive ex, a young woman seeks refuge in a remote home with its own dark secrets.

Review by Sue Finn

Directed by: Donna McRae

Starring: Adele Perovic, John Brumpton, Jane Clifton, Eloise Mignon

lost gully road poster

Lucy is running away. When we first meet her she is driving through the lush mountainscape of Australia’s isolated woodlands as she heads to a home her sister has paid a deposit for. She’s on speakerphone to that sister who explains that Lucy needs to be shut off from social media; "only for a few days," she claims, "you can do it!"

Arriving at a remote rural two-story home in the rugged forest, Lucy (Adele Perovic) is greeted by the friendly homeowner who explains there’s not even a TV there, but she is sure to have a relaxing time as "the house takes care of itself."

We spend the first day with Lucy as she wanders about the home looking at the surroundings from the back porch, leafing through the various books deposited in the lounge room, helping herself to the gift basket of goodies the host left behind for her enjoyment.

The home is peaceful but anonymous, and just what is that strange dark spreading stain in the top corner of the room?

The day ends with a mysterious figure walking past the front door as Lucy sleeps soundly in her clothes.

lost gully road review

The next day she heads out bright and early to the local store to buy a few essentials and is hit on by the lecherous store owner as he goes through her purchases, commenting on each one. She does her best to ignore and discourage him but his interest is on the decidedly creepy side. You just know he will pop up again later.

Once home and unpacking, her essentials seem like the kind of food you’d buy for a party – crackers, cheese and a lot of alcohol; no real food, and it’s an insight into how Lucy views herself and her life, temporary and in flux.

When she showers we see it from the perspective of someone observing from the door. She feels watched and turns in fright to see no one.

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It transpires that she is in hiding from an abusive ex partner and she’s waiting at the home for her sister to join her, however her sister’s plans keep getting put back due to paranoia that the ex partner is watching her and she could lead him straight to Lucy.

Lucy is under strict orders not to use her phone in case he’s tracking it and to keep her head down at all costs, but the isolation just adds to her unease as things start becoming strange and unexplainable.

lost gully road review

Lights turn on and off by themselves and a radio insists on playing a snatch of old music. She sees footprints around the porch and the house seems intent on hurting her. When her car gives up the ghost she is well and truly trapped.

Directed competently by Donna McRae in only her second feature film, this managed a few creepy shots and I enjoyed the play with point of view. There are also some lovely scenic moments but the sets feel more ‘staged’ than they perhaps should.

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The acting is just adequate, though I feel the screenplay (by McCrae and Michael Vale) needs to take some responsibility for an underdeveloped central character; with no discerning traits to be seen, it’s difficult for us to warm to a character so sullen and blank. And why is she so unprepared for this ‘escape’? and why does she still have her phone if her partner really can track her?

I love Aussie horror. There’s something about our desolate landscape that adds a stark realness and brutality to horror films. We also seem well versed in how to use a low budget when it comes to horror films, something that shouldn’t be unique but is, with many indie filmmakers trying to emulate the higher budgeted films they see on the big screen and failing due to lack of resources. I like a lot about this film. I particularly like the feminine viewpoint, the way the storyline fills itself in as the film progresses, and the fact that people look and act like real people.

lost gully road review

This had potential to be a play on paranoia vs real occurrences, ghosts or reality? How much is Lucy reliving her past with an abusive ex and how much is actually happening? I wish this had been explored further; this would have justified expanding a rather simple idea into a feature.

Unfortunately the script was just not strong enough to support a feature length film, though I believe this would’ve made a kickass short film in perhaps a horror anthology.

Like an entrée served as a main course, this film just needs a bit more for the audience to chew on.

Lost Gully Road is on DVD/VOD now.

2020 movie reviews