The collective shadow of many essential-and-not-quite-so-essential Australian movies – Wake In Fright, Welcome To Woop Woop, Dimboola, 100 Bloody Acres, Dying Breed, The Cars That Ate Paris – loom large over Two Heads Creek, yet somehow this blood-and-gore laden slab of horror comedy still manages to feel fresh and original. Penned by and starring British actor Jordan Waller (who appeared in TV’s Victoria and the Gary Oldman-starring Darkest Hour, and makes his feature writing debut here) and directed by Jesse O’Brien (who debuted in 2016 with the impressive low budget Aussie sci-fi flick Arrowhead), Two Heads Creek garishly punctures the stereotype of the hard-drinking, meat-eating, xenophobic Aussie, and is far more interested in sly social commentary than it is in unforgettable kill scenes and creating effective tension.
When British butcher and mama’s boy Norman (Jordan Waller) discovers that his Polish mother wasn’t really his mother, he and his partially estranged sister Annabelle (Kathryn Wilder from TV’s Adulting and Frontier, and Kenneth Branagh’s All Is True) – a tough talking wannabe actress and current poster girl for a laxatives company – escape Brexit-bound England and head to far flung Australia in search of their real mother. Their destination is the remote Queensland town of Two Heads Creek, where the only thing on the menu are sausages and cans of Four X…needless to say, the foppish Norman and outspoken Annabelle have a little trouble fitting in. Pretty soon, however, they realise that assimilation is the least of their problems.
Boiling with broad humour, grotesque Aussie caricatures (the wonderfully over-the-top Helen Dallimore steals all of her scenes as a brassy tour guide with a few big secrets; Kevin Harrington skewers his nice guy Aussie image; and Gary Sweet and Kerry Armstrong go at it hammer-and-tongs in smaller but no less forceful roles), and kick-arse female characters (this is very much a post-“woke” affair), Two Heads Creek turns everything up to eleven (including its catchy clutch of vintage tunes by Skyhooks and the one and only Normie Rowe), and only occasionally wobbles under the weight of its own messy madness. It’s profoundly gross (at times maybe a little too gross) and while it moves at a cracking pace, some of its set pieces could have used a minor edit. The film’s energy, however – along with its genuine warmth for its eccentric characters and pointed commentary on our stop-the-boats mentality – more than paper over any minor cracks. Two Heads Creek is a splatter filled satire on Australia’s dark side with plenty of blood, guts and brains, of both the literal and figurative variety.