Kathleen Murphy writes:
In The Snowtown Murders, first-time feature director Justin Kurzel fictionalizes awful events that took place in an Adelaide housing project during the Nineties. Kurzel's sociopathic "hero" is one John Bunting, Australia's worst serial killer—12 victims at final count—who tortured and butchered pedophiles, homosexuals, junkies, and pretty much anyone else he disliked, stuffing their bodies into barrels hidden in an abandoned bank building.
This horrifying history could have been an excuse for an Eli Roth gorefest. Instead, Kurzel aims, with mixed success, to visualize the kind of wilderness that breeds a Bunting—though he fails to exploit any tension between Australia's vast emptiness and its crowded warrens of folks on the dole. Painting, in leached-out color, an environment of such material drear and communal despair that the advent of a merry little serial killer brings perverse life to the party, Kurzel suggests that Snowtown's repressed/oppressed community may have dreamed up their own monster. Not literally, but in the sense of gravitating toward some source of energy that might shock them out of zombie life, satisfying a primal thirst for action and power.
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