George Shevtsov

George Shevtsov

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Crawl Review


OK

Packed with references to classic horror thrillers, this Australian film is a gimmicky freak-out that keeps our pulses racing even if it never really gets under the skin. The story may be rather simplistic and contrived, but director China keeps everything so stylishly atmospheric that we can't take our eyes off the screen. Even if we have to watch some chillingly grisly moments through our fingers.

It's set in a small town where Marilyn (Haig) works in a seedy bar. Her sleazy boss Slim (Holmes) has hired a Croatian cowboy hitman (Shevtsov) to settle a debt with an old friend, but on one fateful night things take a very dark twist. On his way to see Slim, the cowboy stumbles into the romantic evening Marilyn is planning with her soon-to-be fiance (Barclay). And in her rambling, isolated home, Marilyn becomes a pawn trapped in the middle of both Slim's nasty plan and the cowboy's violent counterplot. But she's not as helpless as everyone thinks.

There are several points in this movie when characters crawl across the ground, each for a very different reason. But that's about as deep as the title goes. Mainly the film is a chance for China to play around with elements from his favourite Coen brothers movies, most obviously Blood Simple and No Country for Old Men. And with its brightly lit sets and smiling killer, there are also nods to Kubrick's The Shining. Each of these references is very cleverly done to keep us intrigued, although we never care about the paper-thin characters and the essentially random situations the script throws them into.

Continue reading: Crawl Review

Love Serenade Review


Good
This quirky Aussie comedy was massively overshadowed by Muriel's Wedding, which preceded it by a year, but it's just as enjoyable. Miranda Otto steals the show in an early performance of the mousy sister of a shrewish hag (Rebecca Frith), who is instantly smitten when a radio DJ (George Shevstov) moves in next door. There's not much shaking in their remote community, so when the DJ picks Miranda first, an epic catfight/love triangle ensues. Lots of fun, though the supernatural third act comes out of nowhere and ruins a lot of what was built up earlier.
George Shevtsov

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