Savages Crossing (2011)
By: Devon B. on March 18, 2015 | Comments
Jinga Films | All Regions, NTSC | 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced) | English DD 5.1 | 85 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Kevin James Dobson
Starring: John Jarratt, Craig McLachlan, Jessica Napier, Sacha Horler, Rebecca Smart, Angela Punch McGregor, Chris Haywood
Screenplay: John Jarratt, Cody Jarrett
Country: Australia
Screenplay by John and Cody Jarratt. Starring John and Charlie Jarratt. Executive produced by John and Cody Jarratt. Released by Winnah Films. I'm getting the sense that Savages Crossing might just be a Jarratt family production.

In the movie a storm traps a group people, including some of them Jarratts, at Savages Crossing, an area on the Wonga River. There could be some confusion about locale because when I Googled the Wonga River it seemed to be in Arnhemland, but the prominent XXXX paraphernalia should alert viewers that the movie's actually set in Queensland. Anyway, a woman and her son (Charlie) are on the run from John and get stuck in floods caused by the storm. They take refuge, along with a few other unfortunate souls, in a pub, and when John also turns up the tempers flare amongst the fractured family. The others are left trying to manage the situation, but that gets trickier when another guy arrives and further complicates the equation.

When I started the movie I was immediately surprised by how cheap Savages Crossing looks. I've never seen Neighbours, but I figure it'd look like Savages Crossing in terms of production values. I'd nearly dismissed the movie early on and then the quality seemed to suddenly shift. Once the storm kicks in the lighting levels drop which makes the movie's cheapness less apparent. After the initial set up, so again right around the time the storm starts raging, the direction tightens which helps the proceedings immensely. It doesn't become a Hitchcock or anything, but it gets way better than I thought it would after the opening scenes.

The cast sports a few familiar faces, even before counting John, including Craig McLachlan, Cut's Jessica Napier, and the wife from Small Time Gangster. John looks a bit like Captain Kangaroo in this movie, which is a cultural reference that will make no sense in Australia, despite the marsupial connection, so I felt the overwhelming need to mention it. The acting quality varies from good to…well, what I figure Neighbours acting is like. A few of the cast aren't brilliant, but most of them are okay. McLachlan delivers some bluntly funny lines (which doesn't quite make up for his delivery of an overbearing score), and he generally does a fine job as the ocker type that John himself normally plays.

Savages Crossing is copyright 2008 according to the slick and MMVIX, whatever year that may be, according to the end credits. I'm guessing it's meant to be 2009 but that someone at Winnah really likes the Roman Numeral for five so stuck it in as a joke. IMDB says the movie didn't come out until 2011, so I wonder if potential distributors tuned out in the opening sequences like I nearly did. It never reaches levels of brilliance, but Savages Crossing is an okay thriller that mostly recovers from its initial shoddiness.
The Disc
Savages Crossing starts out looking very shot on video, with motion blur and edge enhancement bringing the presentation down even further. Things do improve later in the movie, but it never looks great. The 5.1 track is a front heavy mix, and there's a 2.0 track available for those that want it. The extras include a bounty of trailers, one for Savages Crossing and one for Shiver.
The Verdict

There are still peaks and troughs throughout the movie, but Savages Crossing is a film that ultimately overcomes its budget deficit. I won't search high and low for another Jarratt family movie, but I also won't punch anyone in the face for trying to put one on.

Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
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