Wilderness
WILDERNESS. 2006

Director: Michael J. Bassett

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl



Wilderness Davy (John Travers) is a bit of a sissy compared to all these big bad butch criminals in the grubby British hard-core juvenile facility. He's been bullied & abused into a frightened bundle of nerves, so he commits suicide.

"Get them to the island. And teach them a bloody lesson," is the warden's response to the situation, shipping 'em off to what passes for Wilderness (2006).

The island is generally used for military exercises, but it has something of an "off season" when it is used for character-building prisoners' camp-outs. It wouldn't ordinarily be any harsher than doing bootcamp in the forest, but of course it's all going to go seriously awry.

Guard Jed (Sean Pertwee) has to keep tabs on this mess of badboys, including Steve (Stephen Wright) the racist skinhead bound to have conflict with the black Brit, Jethro (Richie Campbell).

Lindsey (Ben McKay) is inheriting Davy's role as low man. Callum (Toby Kebbell) is the newest prisoner & undoubtedly has rage in him, but manages to present himself calmly, & will eventually surface as the hero of the piece.

WildernessOn the island during their survivalist experiences, observant Callum keeps spotting hideous folk-charms a la the Blair Witch project. Ooooo, that can't be good.

Can't have a properly violent exploitation films without girls in the cast, even if the set-up hadn't initially provided for any. They meet up with three girls from Temple Park women's prison. It's apparently a "babes only!" women's prison, no uglies allowed to do time.

Two are bad girls, Jo & Mandy (Karly Greene & Lenora Crichlow). They are guarded by Louise (Alex Reid) who is even hotter than they are.

The baddest pair of guys, Steve the skinhead & his giant pal Lewis (Luke Neal), encounter a mute tramp (Colin Nicolson) camped in a ruin, & beat him to a pulp. For an uninhabited island with no way off, it's turning out to have quite the population.

When Callum finds the dead body, he gets blamed. But quite likely Steve & Lewis didn't actually kill him either. The victim's throat appeared to be torn open by animals.

The hot babe girl guard Louise had commando training (yeah right) & is much more competent than the male guard Jed as things get heated up. Jed is soon catsmeat in a very gory sequence when trained-to-kill German shepards eat him alive.

WildernessBut competent Louise only fairs a little better when she goes over the cliff with one of the dogs, & returns all bloody barely able to crawl & not long for the world. Kind of a wasted oportunity for amazon action if you ask me.

Our first view of the psycho with crossbow is just of moving leaves in the shape of a man, perfect camouflage. Our frightened ragtag team finds a ruined house & hunkers down for protection.

They begin to suspect the lunatic (Stephen Don) with the crossbow & the killer dogs is Davy's dad, a special services s.o.b. avenging his sissy son.

Blue (Adam Deacon), a sexual psychopath, is grossly caught in huge bear traps, & it's shtick like that this movie lives for. Even so, shouldn't a nasty exploitation flick like this have a love story in it? You bet!

Jo, one of the bad girls, has fallen for bad boy giant Lewis. But Steve's jealousy finalizes his psychotic break, because a film like this needs more than a sadistic stalker in the woods & dogs that eat people alive.

Callum rises to the occasion as a sort of Conan the Juvenile Delinquent. He & the last girl standing turn the tables on the psycho avenger for a satisfyingly violent climax.

The film is obviously dumb as two rocks knocking together, but for the seedy thing it means to be, it's a damnably well done variant on "The Most Dangerous Game." It has an atmosphere of doom & gloom, reasonable acting not generally to be expected of a gory actioner, & doesn't cheat on the crude beauty & grossness of its money-shots.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl



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