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The Snowtown Murders

3.1 out of 5 stars 101 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Based on the horrifying crimes discovered in Snowtown, Australia in 1999, where police found dismembered bodies rotting in barrels, SNOWTOWN, which marks Justin Kurzel's directorial debut is a stark journey into the feral subculture of welfare dependence, addiction, domestic violence, brutality and sexual abuse. Elizabeth Harvey (Louise Harris) is raising her three boys in Adelaide's poor northern suburbs. After her latest boyfriend displays pedophilic tendencies she takes up with a new man, hoping for security but instead winds up welcoming an even more vicious predator into her home. John Bunting (Daniel Henshall) is the moral compass among a circle of friends who hold self-appointed neighborhood watch meetings at the kitchen table. Fueled by cigarettes and beer they cast judgments on those living around them. Bunting enlists his crew in acts of sadistic vigilantism on those he considers deviants takes Elizabeth's son Jamie (Lucas Pittaway) under his wing. In a mix of misdirected hero worship and terror, Jamie becomes an accomplice to a spree of torture and murder. SNOWTOWN is an uncompromising film, focused on the relationship between vulnerable teenager and a father figure who is revealed to be the worst kind of bully.

Special Features

None.

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 (101 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0083H6AWE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,283 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Amazon 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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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.
3 Comments 35 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Amazon 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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