Locusts – An Australian Western Worth Seeing
Locusts, a new Aussie film, was splashed all over the big screen at HOTA on the 11th April. This was part of the Gold Coast Film Festival. Nicole Buckler super-recommends you check it out. Here’s why.
So let’s talk about Australian films. As a generation Xer, I grew up watching some really stupid and cringey Aussie films. Some were just SO embarrassing for Australia. But lately, there have actually been some really interesting low-budget films emerging. This is one of them.
The film Locusts was self-financed with a budget of $1.5 million. So naturally, I thought, here we go, there’s going to be bad acting that will make me want to put my head into the popcorn. The editing will make me want to flee into the ocean. There will be seriously ugly people in it that they tried to stab repeatedly with Botox to make them look beautiful.
But actually, I was genuinely surprised at how good this film was for a low budget, outback-Western-noir style film. The actors are hot, but not plastically-good-looking. Everyone could act, thank God. And the plot was pretty good. Overall, they smashed it.
Locusts is an independent feature film written and produced by radiologist Dr Angus Watts and directed by Heath Davis. Filmed in Broken Hill, the plot has nothing to do with locusts. Not one locust appears in the film. Not even as a hipster source of protein. It’s a metaphor for how humans come into an area and consume everything in their path until destruction is absolute.
The movie centres around Ryan Black (played by Ben Geurens) and how in a few days his life turns into a total poo-storm. Small town Black moves to Sydney, makes it big in tech. He must return to his small-town hell hole called Serenity Crossing when his father dies. He is required to clean up what’s left of his dad’s estate, which is a whole other poo-storm altogether. His memories of his hometown are that of a cesspit: upon his return he finds it is even worse than he remembered. Now, it has pimps, crackheads, strippers of unusually excellent quality considering the remote and crappy location, and even drier conditions than when he left. Serenity Crossing. Ahhh the serenity. There’s none.
There are those people in this world that find desert scenes beautiful and serene – the red sand and the golden sky can seem achingly beautiful. There were desert scenes in this movie that did fawn over the vastness of the outback.
That’s not me. I have no idea why but I have always been terrified of the outback. The dust. The flies. The nothingness. The isolation. The sense of being SO FAR AWAY from the vast majority of other humans on earth. One wrong move without 7 litres of water and you are dead in 3 hours. No thanks.
This film really did go hard on the dusty outback feeling. I mean, not as hard as say, Razorback of 1984. I mean, that was hardcore outback.
While this film did have the occasional insertion of desert beauty porn, by the end the whole desert thing had descended into a dirty, dusty, gritty, hot, sweaty, outback hell. Just the way I always thought the outback would be. Thanks, Locusts, for cementing my decision to never go there. EVER.
If you get a chance to see this flick, do it. It’s a really good Aussie film, and not in that way where you feel you have to say it’s good because you don’t want to be mean to the Australian movie industry. It’s actually good.
The Gold Coast Film Festival runs until runs until the 14th of April, but will be back next year in all its Gold Coast glory. Check HOTA for info.