The Snowtown Murders

Dir Justin Kurzel (Macbeth, Assassins Creed)

Before I say anything, massive trigger warning on this one. There are some very graphic, violent and upsetting scenes and subject manners that run rampant throughout this film. Please be cautious before you consider giving this one a watch.

I have been sitting on this movie for about a week or so now and it’s really hard to write a proper review for it. Did I actually enjoy my time with this movie, or did it disturb me so much that I was paralysed in place, forced to finish the run time before being able to breathe again?

Based on true events, “The Snowtown Murders” follows the story of psychopath serial killer John Bunting (Daniel Henshall), as he manipulates his new girlfriend’s oldest son, Jamie Vlassakis (Lucas Pittaway) into doing some unspeakable, chilling things.

I’m going to get straight to the point here; this movie is twisted, disturbing and downright messed up, which appropriately reflects it’s truely sickening subject matter. I’m not an easy to scare but I can safely say this is the most disturbing thing I’ve ever seen.
The atmosphere is bleak and bland from the get go, with grey colour grading washing over the opening shots as we are introduced to the Vlassakis family. Living in government funded housing in the Northern outskirts Adelaide, they are obviously an impoverished family with their house, as well as those surrounding, looking truely derelict.

I won’t go in depth with the plot but basically; Mum meets John, John manipulates Jamie, John and Jamie kill 8 people whose remains were found in barrels stored in an abandoned bank in Snowtown, SA. Creepy shit, right?

The thing that really got to me was how human the actors on screen were. I was sucked right in and there was barely a glimmer of fiction in the performances given. It was raw.
Kurzel does an admirable job of capturing some brilliant performances, as well as bringing this true story to the attention of an audience who may have never known about these gruesome killings.

This film definitely suffers from some pacing issues. It feels long and it is a mission to make through to the final credits. Whether it was intentional or not, some of the slower scenes do help the audience recover from the horrors put to screen. So to look at it from a glass half full perspective, it was a welcome shortcoming.


Now for the hard part, Would I actually recommend this movie to anyone? Yes and no. Yes because it is a gripping, intense film with some fantastic performances, award winning editing work and crisp cinematography. On the other hand, no just because of how down right disturbing and hard to digest it is.

TL;DR

Snowtown Is a thoroughly disturbing film. Kurzel through this film has achieved what he set out to do. I left this film feeling disgusted and appalled, not because I think this is a poorly executed film but because this was a true story. This happened.
Kurzel has done his job, and done it pretty damn well if you ask me. It’s a tough watch, and definitely not for the faint of heart (or stomach). However, if you so wish, go in blind and let Snowtown haunt your nightmares for days to come.

7.5/10

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