Welcome to Knockout Horror and to another Horror Movie Review. This was going to be my first, and only, Quick Fire Review for this week. I normally reserve them for terrible movies, older films or horror adjacent. Despite me reviewing a few things that would fit those criteria, this week. Namely the awful Shook and Initiation, as well as the horror adjacent Nocebo. I simply had too much to rant and talk about with those movies. Today’s movie falls foul of that very same issue. I just have too much to rant about. Shockingly, this movie is actually worse than the aforementioned slashers. We are taking a look at Australian Horror Survival movie Outback.
Australia puts out some absolutely amazing horror. The Loved Ones and Lake Mungo are two of my all time favourite horror movies. There are so many more, though. Despite the obvious talent there, however. They can also put out some utter garbage. The Uninhabited is a very good example of that. As is today’s movie, Outback.
Following the story of two dumb tourists losing their way in the Australian outback. This is one of those movies that really has to go out of its way to be as bad as it is. How does a formula like this fail? You have the open, barren, wilderness of Australia. The scorching sun beating down. Two idiotic young people who are completely inept at basic existence. And a whole ton of bad planning. It’s a simple formula. How could it go so wrong? Well, Outback finds a number of ways to do it. Let’s take a look.
Outback follows the story of American tourists Lisa and Wade. Heading out to Australia for a holiday together. Wade makes the genius decision to propose to Lisa on the plane flight over. She refuses. Leaving Wade to spend the rest of the vacation throwing pity parties and tantrums. Wanting to get away from the more touristy side of Australia. Lisa suggests heading to the outback to check out Uluru (Ayers Rock).
Packing everything they could possibly need. Namely a bottle of water, half a tank of gas, a can of gas just in case that half tank isn’t enough, and some kangaroo jerky. Apparently, that is plenty for the 36 hour journey through remote, Australian, nothingness. The pair hit the road. It isn’t long before their GPS takes them off track and the pair become stranded.
So you may be able to see some of Outback’s issues right away. This couple set their GPS. They comment on how the journey will take nearly two days. They fill up a car that, on a straight highway, probably gets less than 30mpg. Pack 10l of extra gas. No water. No food. And nothing to help them sustain life, before heading out.. Again, let me repeat that. They plan to travel from Sydney to Uluru 2,840 miles away, in a rented car. And don’t pack copious amounts of water, food and spare fuel. This plot is ridiculous! But, the strange thing is; it’s the most believable part about Outback.
Outback is a painfully mundane, slow moving, dull, uninteresting and unrealistic survival movie. It places the focus on the questionable relationship of our two main characters. Misogynistically chastising Lisa for having the temerity to not want to marry Wade. Who is, frankly, a controlling, manipulative, loser. The prime angle of Outback is guilting women who don’t commit to below average men. How dare you want to build your own life! I am assuming someone involved has had a deeply upsetting experience? I don’t think a terrible horror movie is the way to exorcise that demon, fella. Again, I say that as a man who has risked the rejection of proposal. Luckily that did not happen to me. But, also, I wouldn’t have been stupid or manipulative enough to do it in a public place like a plane.
This is an incredibly dumb story and will immediately split viewers. Some will dislike Wade for his obvious lack of foresight and his sulky personality. Others will dislike Lisa for refusing his proposal. Either way, the movie spends the rest of its length simpering. Basically telling viewers that they should damn well accept marriage proposals. Even if they don’t feel ready. You know, because you might end up…. Lost in the outback of Australia, I guess? This plot really plays to the fantasies of certain types of men. Needless to say, the survival element here takes a backseat to relationship drama.
When the survival aspect kicks in. It mainly focuses on a ridiculously dumb character. Slowly leading another character around in circles. The landscape is barren. It is very hot because.. Australia! There are snakes and scorpions everywhere because, again, Australia. And the two characters are incredibly dehydrated. If we could just refer back to my earlier point here. This plot is dumb. Is anyone actually stupid enough to do this journey with no supplies? In Australia of all places. A country that has found so many unique ways to kills humans. The vast majority of the country wants to unalive you for fuck’s sake.
Again, for the sake of posterity. Let’s emphasise how stupid this is. They set off on a multi-mile hike. In the middle of the Australian summertime. With only one bottle of water. The setup here is ridiculous. Despite similar things like this happening all the time. It is painfully stupid and difficult to engage in. Still, that isn’t really the issue. Survival movies don’t rely on setup. They rely on the events that take place after. Sadly, Outback completely falls apart here. What seems like a fairly tantalising and interesting story of survival. Quickly transforms into a boring type of long form urolagnia.. I am sure the writer here must have some specific type of fetish.
This movie is, predominantly, focused on one man trying to get his girlfriend to drink his piss. I have never seen a movie indulge so heavily in one trope. It is a horrible mess and Outback feeds on it greedily. I imagine, for many viewers, it will be a bit difficult to watch. I probably shouldn’t need to say this but, apparently, the film-makers don’t realise. If you are in this situation; DON’T DRINK YOUR PISS. It won’t rehydrate you. In fact, it will do the opposite. It is a dumb tip perpetuated by Bear Grylls’ fans. Terminally online types who probably never leave the house. But somehow believe they could survive in the middle of the desert. Simply by eating lizards and drinking excreta.
The makers boldly claim that Outback is, depending on which cover you see. Interchangeably, based on both a true story and an Urban Legend. Prodding the viewer with notes about the characters in the movie. Portraying them as real people who genuinely existed. Seemingly unaware that Urban Legends are, actually, the complete opposite of truth. Outback is not based on a true story. You won’t be able to find the specific case this movie relates to. It is fiction. It is based on the arrogance and stupidity of foreign tourists in general.
This speaks to the greater issue with Outback. It wants to be so much more than it is. Simple research could have generated a real life story to base this on. This would have afforded the creators at least a modicum of realism. They could have ripped the events straight from the story. Instead, we have two people that are difficult to care about. Wandering in circles and trying really hard to piss in a bottle. It is horribly boring and farcically silly. An overly enthusiastic score pounds the viewer’s ears every other scene. Reminding them how they should be feeling. The reality is, it simply provokes more eye rolling and, even, a few laughs.
Some of the decisions made by the characters are side splittingly silly. I, obviously, can’t go into detail because of spoilers. But, suffice to say, they will have you laughing your ass off. One scene, in particular, is noteworthy for how utterly unbelievable it is. Honestly, this is the type of film that should come with warning stickers. Don’t fucking do what Wade does; Wade is a dunce. These are two characters without an ounce of sense between them. The only time either of them displayed intelligence. Was when Lisa refused Wade’s proposal.
It’s hard to say whether the movie features a ton of plot holes, or not. I can’t tell if it is that or just the characters being stupid. Still, there are a few things that stick out a mile. For example, Wade is apparently half way through his basic training. How the hell did he get a few weeks off for a vacation? I didn’t even think people doing basic got weekends off. For every military person I knew. It was long days, evenings spent sorting kit and recovering. Maybe the occasional half day if they were lucky. Those people are tough for a reason. I imagine America is even more strict.
Another crucial plot hole involving the car really sticks out. It undermines the entire events of the movie. Continuity issues are a real problem here. Characters will be wearing bright white sneakers half way through the film. Despite having been walking in dirt for hours. Clothes are spotless and our characters both look rather clean and fresh. There is some okay makeup work at one point. That mysteriously disappears after awhile, though. It feels very low rent and painfully low effort.
The decision to have two Australian actors playing Americans doesn’t really pay dividends. Both Lauren Lofberg and Taylor Wiese’s accents slip on a few occasions. Lofberg is fine in dramatic scenes but her delivery is a little childlike, at times. I put that down to the script more than anything. This is very much a case of men writing women and doing a poor job. Wiese’s character is so unlikeable it is hard to comment on his performance. He is fine in some of the more visceral, dramatic moments, I suppose.
Cinematography is okay. I don’t think the Outback is what you would call stunning scenery. More of a barren wasteland, really. The decision to film the touristy parts of Australian on an overcast day was strange. It looked like the UK with how bloody grey it was. Lofberg looks absolutely freezing when the pair visit the beach. Did they film in Aussie winter? I absolutely love Australia. It’s a beautiful place. I would have enjoyed seeing some more of the scenery. That’s a bit of a nit-pick though, to be fair.
Pacing is lacking. The majority of the movie is awkward interactions between the couple. The rest of it is two people walking in circles while being a bit thirsty and a bit warm. The hilarious final 20 minutes of the movie might be some of the silliest I have ever seen. Designed to, once again, remind women that their partner’s would do anything for them. Hence why they should just acquiesce to their every demand. However unreasonable and publicly embarrassing. It’s just awful stuff. Utterly devoid of suspense and almost impossible to invest in.
Outback is an Australian Survival Horror movie with a heavy focus on drama. Following the story of a young couple and their awkward relationship. This is a film that has plenty of potential but delivers on none of it. Slow paced, boring, and with a ridiculous setup. the interpersonal drama between the main characters makes Wade difficult to invest in.
These two are stupid and their relationship is rather annoying. The survival aspects are virtually non-existent. Consisting predominantly of one man attempting to have his girlfriend drink his piss. It's both silly and mind numbingly dull. Okay acting and some decent cinematography can't save this utter waste of 86 minutes.