Walking onto the Gold Coast Hinterland nighttime shoot of supernatural Aussie flick Red Billabong, you’re immediately struck by how much potential this uniquely lush, expansive, brooding forest locale-with-lagoon has for the making of a real creepy horror movie. Not that this supernatural thriller is so easily defined by genre categorising.
“It’s something that people haven’t seen before on the screen. It’s supernatural action where someone or something is stalking someone in the bush,” teases writer-director Luke Sparke. “We’re playing up the mythology part of it toward the end of the film. Half the film is quite action packed but unfortunately I can’t reveal too much about what’s causing the action, whether it’s someone or something… but it’s deeply rooted in Australian mythology.”
Red Billabong concerns two estranged brothers whose friends start to go missing in the Australian Outback. But who or what is behind their disappearances? Is it a legend, a Hoax or something very real? Reality blurs with fantasy in this Aussie genre curio.
Dan Ewing (Power Rangers RPM) and Tim Pocock (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Lemon Tree Passage) headline as the aforementioned brothers. “Nick is the older brother and he’s returned to help Tristan (Pocock) settle their Grandfather’s estate,” reveals Ewing about his character. “I guess you could say he’s the more mature one but there’s a lot of underlying tension there.”
The actor admits to being a fan of the genre. “I thought it was unique – I’d seen a few Aussie horrors which have grasped a good handle with the supernatural elements; films like Infini and Terminus and I like what they did with Gabriel. But I think Red Billabong ticks a lot of boxes and I think that’s what made it attractive to me,” he considers.
“I think they’ve achieved an amazing look and feel to it. I grew up watching films like Jaws and the original Predator – where you don’t see the beastie till the end. Now people fall into the trap of making films about the special effects. With any supernatural thing you have to offset it with a really good dose of reality and that’s what we’ve done here.”
“My character is in his early twenties and he lives by himself and he doesn’t have a parental figure around so he’s kind of a slob!” adds Pocock who co-leads. “At first glance when I read the script it was like a horror film but then later I realised it’s kind of a bit more than that – there’s action adventure in there too and there’s elements in the film that I certainly haven’t seen in Australian movies before. It’s kind of cool to explore some of the ancient myths of Australia.”
SciFiNow witnesses the shooting of a pretty accelerating action sequence involving the brothers and explosions in the titular billabong. A Ute (aka pickup truck) is impressively flipped by a ‘certain something’ which then rips it apart like a sardine can. To get a hint of what that something could be you’ll have to check out the trailer:
Red Billabong is being distributed by Arclight Films, and is anticipated for a UK release in 2016. For more news about the latest movies, pick up SciFiNow.