There’s a yowie in the bush and he lives in the Pilliga. But all that wanders is not lost and if you love an Australian urban legend you might find exactly what you’re looking for in There’s Something in the Pilliga.
I ran into Dane Millerd in the social horror groups I frequent, and not realizing who I was talking to, blatantly slated it this film. Millerd is the writer, director, and producer of the film.
What’s It About? (Official)
Dylan is taking a break. It’s New Years and he decides to do a bit of cruising in the bush. Dylan’s a cameraman and both he and his friend Jay want nothing more than some girls and a drive in the outback. Everyone knows about the legend of the Pilliga but no one really believes it. Later, the two mates are joined by Liz and Tammy and they learn the hard way that sometimes traveling in groups won’t protect you from what’s out there.
Starring: Brendan Byrne, Leoni Leaver, and Rebecca Callander.
How Was It?
I am a massive fan of Wolf Creek (2005), another film in the essence of Ozploitation movies. The original release is a favorite of mine but the sequel made me want to throw spoons at the screen. Personal preferences just are what they are sometimes. For me, the sequel took the character of Mick too far into the territory of the comic characterization of Australians.
Similarly, this is something I disliked here.
As soon as Jay began talking I decided he would die at some point. That’s not a spoiler, I just hoped my disdain for his character would be utilized by a graphic death scene. It’s also not a slight on his performance. He is quite good. I think his character is supposed to be unlikeable.
To put it another way, the acting from all participants is well-rounded. Compared to my lacking enthusiasm for Jay and his words, he pulls off this type of lad well. I also really enjoyed the beautiful scenery captured as they drive around. The cinematography is done by the same person who plays Dylan, the cameraman in the story.
The Real Story
Like any movie I review, I sometimes go hunting myself (on the internet). I discovered the original story had metamorphized quite a few times. In my opinion, some of the details got left behind. The film became confusing and I started to question things that should have been background elements.
Besides, it made no sense to put a timeframe on how long the girls waited in the truck (4 hours) or why they would start walking on foot after that long. There were a few other plot holes that took away from the story for me. Seeing the police find the group easily, took away from how remote their location had seemed and made the area feel small. I was also displeased at the overused running towards the danger in the dark.
I loved the ending. The end scene, for me, was what I wished the film had pinned the narrative onto. I would also like to see this story continue where it leaves off.
Urban Legends from Australia
Final Thoughts on the Yowie Urban Legend
Generally, one thing I hate more than anything in Australian film and television is when we get depicted as crass, ocker, singlet wearing assholes. I am still surprised that Jay didn’t get punched in his second attempt at interrupting a sexual act. Not that Jay’s stereotype isn’t accurate, everyone’s seen a guy like Jay in their travels. It does make him overtly creepy because you don’t know what he is capable of. But that doesn’t make him someone I want thought of as a pillar of Australian culture. Again, not a slight on the film, everyone has their own pet-peeves.
For one thing, those with an interest in localized folklore about the Pilliga Princess, The Pilliga Yowie and Bongo and the Beast will get a kick out of this. Of course, I’m still on the hunt for a good horror movie featuring a bigfoot or yowie other than Trollhunter.
I’ve lived in plenty of remote towns throughout Queensland. I even have an aunt who once lived in Rubyvale and had her own tales of a man she knew (Inky) who howled at the moon and lived in a humpy in the bush. She is also fairly crazy too.
There’s Something in the Pilliga’s Yowie Facts
- Title: There’s Something in the Pilliga. I’ve seen some posters around sporting the title Half Human.
- Director, Writer, Producer: Daneen Millerd.
- Release: 2014 at Monster Fest with a further release in 2018.
- Budget: $450K.
- Upcoming: Working on Blood Stain, a novel by Peter Lalor.
I give There’s Something in the Pilliga
2.5 knickers on the bull bar out of 5.