Review below by Joe Pesci II aka Matt Usher

Release Date: 11th August 2006

Director: Michael J Bassett (Silent Hill 2 / Solomon Kane / Deathwatch)

Cast: Sean Pertwee, Alex Reid, Toby Kebbell, Stephen Wight, Lenora Crichlow, Ben McKay, Luke Neal, Karly Greene, Stephen Don, John Travers with Richie Campbell and Adam Deacon

Writer: Dario Poloni




One thought on “WILDERNESS

  1. WILDERNESS by Joe Pesci II aka Matt “He’s in the busher!” Usher

    So a boy in a young offenders’ institution kills himself, so the bullies and cowards who made that happen get a holiday on an island. Well, that’s just the sort of soft thinking which has brought this country to its knees. Fortunately it’s an ISLAND OF DOOM (which would’ve been a much better title), completely uninhabited apart from the small troupe of cocky young actors young male offenders and their chaperone, an even smaller group (well, a duo) of young female offenders and their chaperone, and a tramp, and a pack of really quite cute killer dogs, and a bloodthirsty murderer (from ‘special forces’) with a penchant for macabre murder who has probably been watching FINAL DESTINATION a bit too often. Most of the cast get killed in fairly horrid ways, and a survivor or two survive and that’s about it really. Welcome to the inaccurately named WILDERNESS, a film that adds nothing to an overcrowded genre, except for a quite good Sean Pertwee death.

    If you like films of this kind, then you might find WILDERNESS pleasantly diverting, but that would be because you are a lazy viewer with little discernment. If, on the other hand, you’re a normal person, you will see it for what it is, a deluded attempt to copy and infiltrate the American market, a foolish endeavour as the Americans know how to do this sort of thing, and the makers of WILDERNESS don’t. Actually, that’s unfair. It’s pretty efficient, but thoroughly characterless, as if it was made using some sort of film-making-by-numbers kit. Supposedly solitary location. Mysterious killer. Damsels in distress. Vicious beasts. Dumb animals (including Adam Deacon). A Yoda-like mentor (that’s Sean Pertwee). Deaths by amputation, fire, arrow, dog bite. We have a standard retinue of oiks: puny coward, bullying psycho, lovable lunk, cheeky chappie, comedy black bloke, matinee idol hero. Decorate with some sacrificial young ladies, and that’s about it.

    WILDERNESS has a really big in-built problem. Seeing as the film is about some nasty criminals being killed on an island, how can the viewer be expected to care? The answers the film-makers comes up with are: (a) make the killer deranged so he doesn’t care if innocent bystanders get caught up; (b) introduce some innocent bystanders, like the tramp (no explanation as to what he’s doing there) and some girls (also young offenders and clearly trouble because they’re looked after by Alex Reid who’s playing a tough ex-army veteran); (c) try to make some of the characters likeable, hence the comedy black guy (who, and I know you’ll be astonished to learn, is the first to die). And then we have Callum. I think the producers thought they’d found a film star with Toby Kebbell, and maybe they have. He wouldn’t be the first film star to struggle with things like being able to act. And even when supposedly bedraggled and covered in dog blood, he is allowed to maintain his perfect hair. He swaggers about like he owns the place, or at least, he tries to. Sadly he lacks presence and sounds like a posh civil servant.

    Amongst the oiks we find Stephen Wight, who has great fun as the psycho boy (he should be in Hollywood not the catastrophic Kibbell), and Adam Deacon, playing his signature role of Adam Deacon as an annoying git. Fortunately he has a row with an animal trap before he gets too annoying. The grown-ups are despatched pretty quickly: Alex Reid fails to calm a cute but angry dog, and Pertwee becomes both target practice and lunch. (Just don’t look at the Behind the Scenes feature ‘cos the puppet dog might spoil it a bit). Alas, Pertwee’s death agonies were reminiscent of his dad’s generally unsuccessful attempts at portraying anguish as Doctor Who; there must be something in the Pertwee physiognomy which prevents them from expressing pain properly. Never mind.

    The film fizzles out in a very strange way. The pesky kids work out who the killer is very quickly, and the revelation that he has an insider helping him is not as surprising as it was meant to be. But it’s almost as if the film-makers got bored with this simple vengeance plot, so they introduced a love triangle. I could go into the homoerotic undercurrents latent in this, but suffice to say the lunky dim bloke gets off with the sweary Irish girl, much to the irritation of the psycho boy, who wants to keep the lunky dim bloke to himself. And so, whilst the vengeful father zips about wearing the most brilliant camouflage outfit ever, our pesky kids start killing each other as well. And it all gets a bit tiresome, and you start wondering about the brilliance of the dad’s camouflage. When we first see it, it’s a genuinely impressive moment. But then questions emerge, such as how come they stood about talking and revealing their plans at the exact same spot where he was hiding? Twice. And how come nobody accidentally stepped on him?

    If you absolutely must watch a film about teenage losers being hunted down like dogs by dogs and a crazy daddy then by all means give WILDERNESS a whirl. Otherwise, let it return to the wilderness in which it languishes, until some idiot comes along and (wrongly) identifies it as some sort of under-appreciated cult classic. It’s not, it’s impeccably average well-disguised would-be Hollywood fare.

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