Dir. Jonathan Neil Dixon 94 mins
UK Release: 6th May 2013
A recent trend on the sleeves of genre movies of late has been the absence of the traditional quote from a critic, and in its place a rather misleading banner. For example, on a Mafioso film you’ll see “in the tradition of The Godfather”, and on a romance you may find “for fans of The Notebook”. It’s all a bit ridiculous really as it’s plainly a cheap tactic to get people to focus on the name of the iconic movie they name-check and naively presume that the b-movie they’re about to rent or buy will be of similar quality. We’ve a similar scenario here for ‘Wrath’ with OMG Films cannily adorning the top of the sleeve with (small text) “combines all the elements of” (large text) “Wolf Creek and Red Hill”. I guarantee the weekend will see people in my rental store turn to their partner and say “Hey honey – this is like Wolf Creek!”. Well, potential weekend rental customer, I can honestly tell you it’s not fit to touch the hem of Wolf Creek’s garment.
We begin with Callie (Rebecca Ratcliff), holed up in a motel with her boyfriend Matt (Corey Page) about to set off and waiting for their friends in the adjacent room. The film cuts away at this point to a driver stumbling across a crashed Mercedes just off the main road. Stopping to check her wellbeing, he is shot through the head from distance – the Mercedes driver escaping unharmed. Meanwhile, back at the motel, Matt and Callie are arguing about the durability of their relationship when out of nowhere Callie informs Matt she is pregnant.
Soon after, the group of four meet in a diner before heading off on their journey. As they share breakfast, the small town / backwoods nature of this place becomes increasingly obvious as they receive inquisitive, lingering stares from the other customers. Leaving the diner, they stop at the local gas station to fill up with fuel and notice on their arrival a car with bloody handprints on its exterior. At the same time the local policeman stops by and proceeds to ask the four travellers if they know anything about it, but just as he begins his enquiry he is shot through the head by an unseen assailant with the garage owner soon meeting the same fate.
Quickly getting back into their car, they are joined by the Mercedes driver from earlier on who was in the back of the garage cleaning herself up. Fleeing from the scene at speed, pursued by someone they suspect to be the shooter, they escape to a local farm where upon stopping, the mysterious woman that joined them runs away taking the car keys with her. Stranded, and each with seemingly different intentions, the four friends must plot their next move.
Despite an intriguing, multi-faceted set-up, ‘Wrath’ was a frustrating viewing experience as it fell very short of realising its full potential. The first thirty minutes of the movie had me intrigued, but as the battle between hunter and prey developed – or not as the case may be, the film really began to drag. The characters were just so under-developed. We got a slight idea of Matt and Callie’s relationship, but who were the guys they were travelling with? There is even a character at the start of the film that looks to have a pivotal role that we never see again. It’s a shame, especially as the Ozploitation genre has certainly has more hits than misses. Wrath however, falls firmly into the latter of those categories.
4 out of 10