Damien Power’s generic campground thriller fits within Australia’s grungy trend of outback horror; it doesn’t have the performances or sweat-soaked distinction of something like ‘Wolf Creek’, but it is capably made and tricked out with enough fancy editing to make it seem more substantial than it is. ‘Killing Ground’ telegraphs life-and-death decisions to come: young, clean-cut couple Ian (Ian Meadows) and Sam (Harriet Dyer) discuss anatomy in the car on the way out to their woodsy escape (he’s a doctor); they see no problem in asking a leering local with a vicious dog for camping advice. There’s another vacationing couple with an iPod-toting teenage daughter and a toddler, plus a pair of bearded sickos who terrorise everyone. Power dices his narrative into hash and while you’re distracted by sussing out the individual strands, the hope is you won’t mind the merely functional dialogue and one-dimensional characterisation.
That is not quite accomplished, but the bloodshed of the final act will play on your worst fears of vulnerability. It’s not a film of ideas, just a competent calling card made by technicians who know ‘The Texas Chain Saw Massacre’ backwards but lack their inspiration’s undeniable poetry.