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The Snowtown Murders (2011)

Lucas Pittaway , Bob Adriaens , Justin Kurzel  |  NR |  DVD
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Lucas Pittaway, Bob Adriaens, Louise Harris, Frank Cwiertniak, Matthew Howard
  • Directors: Justin Kurzel
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: MPI Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: August 14, 2012
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0083H6AWE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #115,533 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Based on horrifying crimes discovered in Snowtown, Australia in 1999, THE SNOWTOWN MURDERS is a stark journey into a brutal subculture of suspicion, addiction and violence. Hoping for much-needed stability and security in their lives, embattled mother Elizabeth (Louise Harris) and her three sons take up with John, the self-appointed moral compass of a vigilante neighborhood watch group. John's charismatic nature causes 16-year-old Jamie (Lucas Pittaway) to view the older man as a role model, and the two quickly strike up a bond. But when John introduces Jamie to his disturbing ideas of administering justice, the impressionable youth is confronted with a father figure who may be the most vicious predator he's encountered yet. Winner of the Special Jury Prize at Cannes' Critics Week, Justin Kurzel's directorial debut is an uncompromising look at the alarming circumstances that led to the notorious crimes.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
44 of 52 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a horror movie or thriller August 24, 2012
By Seville
Format:Amazon Instant Video
This is not a horror movie. It's far more frightening, if considerably less entertaining. It's not a suspense thriller; its agonizing tension comes from the dread of witnessing the inevitable.

I don't know whether to envy or pity the reviewers who found this "boring," "slow" and "dull." Since "Silence of the Lambs," we've become slowly inured to the titillating entertainment value of the serial killer. (The current nadir is the incredibly bland, implausible and desensitized TV show "Criminal Minds.")

"Snowtown," by contrast, feels horribly real. Killings happen not in stylized torture chambers but in the same dreary, downtrodden homes the rest of the movie takes place in. Nearly unbroken, subtly handheld camera shots take us from social backyard bonfire to bagged and barrelled corpses, from front porch on a balmy day to kill zone, with a documentarian's unblinking eye... as if murder is one more mundane thread in the fabric of everyday life. For John Bunting, it probably was.

The scariest thing about Daniel Henshall's Bunting is his chipper, everyman banality. Bunting was no loner. He recruited at least 3 others to help carry out his killings. The complaints about numerous peripheral characters drifting in and out of the narrative unannounced are valid, but these interactions show us Bunting's disarming camaraderie, moving him out of a loner's hovel and squarely onto the throne at Jonestown or overseeing Manson's commune. The consensus Bunting cheerfully bullies out of neighborly, impromptu kitchen-table tribunals (we've all been at one) becomes, in his mind, the razor-thin justification needed to act on his obsessions... and to groom accomplices.

Jamie is also a unique character in films (and real-life cases) such as this.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Format:Amazon Instant Video|Verified Purchase
this is a good movie. customer reviews are getting so hard to trust anymore. i almost didn't watch this because of some of the reviews. this is worth watching. it's based on a true story. the acting is really good. the dialect is thick at times. it's nothing you can't figure out though. it's IS English. some of these reviewers would probably complain about southern, east coast, urban accents and dialects too. every single film doesn't need to be so dumbed down to fit into small, closed minds. the u.s. is only one small part of the planet. also, this film won't give you nightmares for a week. it has some pretty chilling moments however they're surrounded by a lot of mystery and suspense.

watch this movie if:

1. you enjoy films that don't fit into the standard, mainstream template
2. you have something between your two ears that you can use to fill in the gaps. everything isn't spelled out and handed to you.
3. you enjoy stories based on true events. especially serial killer and murder stories.
4. you have the ability to deduce context without understanding every single syllable, of every single word, of every single sentence.
5. you're looking for more of a: "holy **** that really happened" type of scared than a: "omg! he has a scary mask and a chainsaw. and look at all the blood!"

hope this helps someone. i don't normally review flicks on here. i'm getting sick of reading all these reviews from clueless individuals who i'm sure think dirty dancing, grease and grey's anatomy are all great.
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27 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brutal Australian True Crime Drama March 31, 2012
Format:Amazon Instant Video
This is a film by director Justin Curzel who, with Warp Pictures, had to get reporting restrictions lifted on the real life case that this film depicts, in order to screen his work. It is about the `Bodies in Barrels' murders that took place in South Australia between 1992 and 1999. In the film we start with a low rent family in Adelaide's suburbs, a place that is beyond bleak, full of slots, smokes and squalor. The mother (Elizabeth Harvey) has three sons and an elder one (half brother) who comes in later. They have a `special uncle' who lives across the road, and whilst he seems to be interested in Elisabeth, he is actually abusing the young boys. She finds out and goes `ape' to coin an oft used vernacular.

Enter new guy John Bunting (Daniel Henshall) he appears as a knight in rusting armour and sets about ousting the paedophile. Now ensconced as a vigilante hero, he takes on the mantle of local moral guardian and enlists the help of others in his `work'. Jamie (Lucas Pittaway) is sixteen and has more troubles than most of that age, John decides he needs to `grow a pair' and thus he gets sucked into a world of violence, torture and murder.

This is a beautifully shot film and has been accused of being too arty, lingering shots, periods of no dialogue etc. However the seeming ordinariness of those moments is the perfect juxtaposition for the brutal things that are happening on screen. All of the actors are totally convincing, even the world ropiest transvestite and the guy with learning difficulties. The music is minimal but potent and we have a full grotesquery of supporting characters, plus scenes of kangaroo butchery which is pretty disturbing.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars WTF?
Published 14 days ago by M. G. McFarland
5.0 out of 5 stars quiet patient violence
Published 20 days ago by Sheets!
5.0 out of 5 stars Unsettling and masterfully horrifying.
One of the most unsettling films I have ever seen. Masterfully filmed and absolutely horrifying without ever going for exploitation, gore or cheap scares. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Alex g
3.0 out of 5 stars Definitely creeped-OUT!
Someone's review said this film made his 'soul hurt', and I can't think of a better way to express how it affected me. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mary M
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting exercise is street justice a gone astray
Excellent movie with great atmosphere combined with fantastic acting results in one hella of a film. Definitely a must watch for anyone with a strong pallet
Published 4 months ago by Malcolm Pearson
1.0 out of 5 stars Slow, Slower, Slowest
Movement in this film drags on and on incessantly detailing the writer's and filmmaker's interpretative take on the psychological factors, leading up to the grisly murders and... Read more
Published 5 months ago by crosscountryman
1.0 out of 5 stars Less than 0
I wish there were "negative" stars because this one would rank on the other side of zero. The description sounded so interesting, but it was a mass of meaningless,... Read more
Published 5 months ago by The Write Idea
2.0 out of 5 stars Terribly Violent
Too violent and depressing. I had to stop it when one man tells a young man to try out using a gun by shooting a dog.
Published 5 months ago by Carolyn Schuler
3.0 out of 5 stars Odd, but interesting
Nothing in this film was ever straight forward. You really need to pay attention to keep up with the characters and the evolving storyline.
Published 5 months ago by Joni Courchaine
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and gritty
This movie is perfect. The acting is superb. There is a gritty feeling to it, as the real-life case was brutal and gritty itself. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Lisa Oxley
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