Throwback (2013, 93 mins.)
Independent filmmakers put their passion, savings, blood, sweat and tears into a film; sometimes having to stop production due to lack of finances, actor schedules or good old Mother Nature. The last two factors are what Australia’s Travis Bain endured to make his creature feature Throwback. Named for the throwback horror films from the 40’s and 50’s and also the creature’s evolutionary standing, this film took 2 years to make due to a persistent rainy season and working around the talent’s day jobs. The end result is an homage to old school monsters and Bain’s childhood horror movie favourites.
Kent (Anthony Ring) and Jack (Shawn Brack) are treasure hunters dreaming of hitting it big in an unexplored tropical forest as they search for the legendary bounty of outlaw Thunderclap Newman. This expedition has its obstacles with betrayal, a diligent forest ranger named Rhiannon (Melanie Serafin), and a rogue ex-cop McNabb (Vernon Wells) who searches for a killer. Oh yes, and the legendary Yowie (Warren Clements), Australia’s Bigfoot. These characters collide as they all try to survive each other and escape the wrath of this mythical creature.
For the budget, the film was beautifully shot. Interesting camera angles and Yowie point-of-view showcased the beautiful North Queensland jungle/forest setting. Even though you know it’s a man in a suit, there was creative shooting of the creature himself, with blurry focus reminiscent of classic B-movie Bigfoot footage.
The character set-up in the first half slows the pace a bit but the second half kicks it up with man vs. man vs. Yowie action. I actually got a bit invested with the characters, because I started to really dislike them and was hoping for the Yowie to come out on top. There were some moments that will make you chuckle, especially with Mad Max 2‘s Wells as the gnarly but kooky, obsessed ex-cop and Ring’s portrayal of the weasely Kent, but I would have liked some more tongue-in-cheek dialogue and a definitive tone since it morphed between a straight crime caper and horror comedy.
All in all, Bain created a fun low-budget B-movie that shows his love for the horror genre and burgeoning skill as a director. If you haven’t seen it yet, never fear because this award-winning festival favorite is due for a DVD release in North America on July 21st.
check out the Throwback trailer:
His next project, Starspawn, described as “a sci-fi/horror thriller inspired by the films of John Carpenter and the works of cult horror author H.P. Lovecraft” has a Kickstarter campaign well under way. Starring Vernon Wells once again, the plot revolves around a T.V. journalist who discovers evidence of an alien invasion while interviewing some outback survivalists. If you would like to contribute, check out this link:
Best of luck to Bain and his next feature!