Sundance Review: 'Killing Ground' Is Cringe-worthy

Sam (Harriet Dyer) tries to survive with babe in arms in Killing Ground, Sundance’s Midnight program. 

Sundance’s Midnight program has rolled out quite a few horrors and thrillers that had us on the edge of our seats (The Babadook, V/H/S, etc.), and Damien Power’s violent survival movie, Killing Ground, fits right in, despite the lack of anything supernatural.

Sam and Ian take the Mazda 3 out for a romantic New Year’s Eve trip to a remote Australian campground, only to realize that they forgot the champagne (That’s ominous). When they stop for a bottle, Ian chats with a bedraggled local, who recommends they change their plans.

Forgive yourself for screaming: “But what the hell does that guy know?”

Apparently, more than he lets on, because what started off as a nice trip to enjoy some natural scenery develops into a nightmare scenario, including a lost toddler, a shocking discovery about the family that was camping nearby and (nonspoiler alert!) a fight to survive in the, well… killing ground. Worst of all—no cell reception.

Killing Ground builds slowly to let us acquainted with Sam and Ian, along with the family from the next tent over. As the movie goes on, it offers puzzle pieces we eventually put together to create a disturbing image of what’s really going on.

You will cringe and question your morality for sitting through some scenes. And when the credits roll, you’ll leave the theater a little nervous to visit any wooded areas.

written by: Jaime Winston

Upcoming screenings:

Saturday, Jan. 21, 1 p.m., Redstone Cinema 2, Park City

Saturday, Jan. 21, 11:59 p.m., Tower Theatre, SLC

Thursday, Jan. 26, 11:30 p.m., Prospector Square Theatre, Park City

Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute.

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