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3rd Night  

Review: written 2017

Budget Australian horror

In a summer full of blockbusters in the 100’s of millions of dollars budget range, many of which have disappointed, it’s refreshing to find some interesting storytelling in a movie whose budget is not measured in millions, in fact not even hundreds of thousands, but tens of thousands. Dollars. Australian dollars at that.

So what do you get for a few tens of thousand of dollars these days? Well some refreshing commitment to a story and decent performances, in a tale which makes up in commitment what it lacks in innovation. Yes, we have all been here before – a remote house, young couple just moving in, and evidence that there may be stalkers out there in the orchard.. Just where HAS their cat disappeared to? No surprises there then. However, we have some engaging leads (Jesse McGinn and Robert Hartburn) who really look and sound like a young couple still rubbing the rough corners off each other. This really helps a sense of empathy with the characters, which makes all the difference to feeling involved when the sense of jeopardy gets heightened. In particular, their ups and downs as they bicker and make up, create moments that make those ‘it’s dark, I’m going to go into the woods by myself’ moments just slightly more credible. While firmly in the horror genre when it comes to the story, it should be noted that although there is a growing nailbiting sense of threat, and bad stuff does eventually happen, there is very little gore on display. This is intended as a nail biter, not a stomach churner..

It’s true the photography lacks the finesse of a bigger budget movie, tending to shake when it wants to be still, and using shadow rather than filmstock or digital jiggery pokery to create mood, but it has good intentions and the weaknesses are never enough to distract from the story which rattles along in an effectively concise way. All told, I’d say this is a creditable first film from director Adam Gravely – it’ll be interesting to see what opportunities he gets next.

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