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  Storm Warning Beaten Off The Beaten Track
Year: 2007
Director: Jamie Blanks
Stars: Nadia Farès, John Brompton, Robert Taylor, David Lyons, Mathew Wilkinson
Genre: Horror, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Rob (Robert Taylor) and his younger, French wife Pia (Nadia Farès) are travelling to the Australian coast for a day trip of fishing. They reach the port and change into their wetsuits then set out to sea in a small motorboat, looking forward to a few hours of relaxation, but when Pia actually catches a fish she is disgusted by the way Rob kills it once it's inside the boat, and decides she'd rather head for shore as there's a storm brewing overhead. Her husband opts for an alternative route, however, and they end up along a river, getting progressively more lost...

Yes, it's yuppies in peril time again, although this at least had the excuse that the script by Australia's bloke to go to for quirky seventies and eighties horror, Everett De Roche, had been written long before the genre was overplayed. In some ways this was a variation on his script for Long Weekend, the previous yuppies in peril film he was responsible for, which also had a city couple ending up at the mercy of sinister forces, but whereas in that it was nature itself that was the source of the danger, here it was all too human.

We're back in the kind of territory that saw Nice People under threat by horrible people, something of the kind that Australian horror had enjoyed an international hit with Wolf Creek a little before Storm Warning came out. This was a lesser work, and it is very much by the numbers for the most part, with the villains straight out of scuzzy overacting school, but if they had been anything else we would not have had much of a movie. What happens is that Rob and Pia find themselves in the rain, in the dark and in the middle of nowhere, when they see a light behind some trees.

It is emanating from an old, dilapitated house and Rob ventures inside to look for a telephone. The place is in such a bad way that it's tempting to believe it is abandoned, but when he investigates the barn alongside it, having no joy in his phone search, he discovers it is full of marijuana plants and it is evident someone is up to illegal activities here. And just at that moment, who should arrive but the owners? Rob and Pia attempt to explain themselves, but it is apparent they are now hostages, and having uncovered the criminals' source of income they might not be long for this world.

So far, so predictable, but Storm Warning really kicks into gear in its final half hour with some extravagant violence. Funnily enough, hardly any of it is visited upon the nice couple, the female half of which reacts to the possibility of getting raped by these three ne'erdowells by drawing on hitherto untapped resources, setting up traps and defences that are far nastier than anything the already pretty unsavoury bad guys have dreamt up for her and Rob. After a long build up the point about the supposedly more civilised characters actually being capable of horrors unthinkable in their everyday lives is bluntly made, and no less unconvincing for that, but you do want to keep watching to see how Pia manages to solve her pressing problems. The mayhem is well-staged by director Jamie Blanks, if nothing else. He did the music, too.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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