Even though there?s an increasing number of horror movies right now, not least ones with characters left open in unfamiliar surroundings (Wolf Creek, Hostel, Vacancy--and plenty more besides), it?s worth making some time in your life for Gone. It?s a small British film, shot in Australia, with a lot more bite than you?d expect it to have. Here, the lead characters in question are a pair of in-love backpackers, who, while rambling across Australian desert, meet a stranger on their travels. Things, without giving too much away, escalate from there, but thanks to the wise restraint of first-time director Ringan Ledwidge, events in Gone are kept very taut and extremely tense. Eschewing gimmicks and gore, instead the film is very focused, perhaps a little unambitious, but nonetheless highly effective. Ledwidge?s cast serve him very well, too. Shaun Evans and Amelia Warner are effective as the backpackers, but it?s Scott Mechlowicz stranger you?ll be talking about once Gone?s credits roll. That, and the superb photography, that delivers some wonderful frames from the terrific Australian scenery. Some may find the relatively slow pace a little troubling, and there isn?t much in the way of surprise in Gone?s locker. But as a small, quietly effective little horror, you won?t feel cheated by it at all. --Jon Fosterfrom£9.25 | RRP:
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A young English couple backpacking across Australia run into a spot of bother when they catch a lift with a sinister American. Hardly an advisable enterprise in this day and age, but laddish Brit Alex (Shaun Evans) and his well-bred girlfriend Sophie (Amelia Warner) set out to backpack across Australia. Having a lovely time, they think their good fortune is boundless when offered a lift by Taylor (Scott Mechlowicz), a handsome American with a car. Tension builds among the three as Sophie quickly finds herself drawn to the alpha-dog charms of the winsome yank. It's Taylor's custom to take Polaroid snaps of everyone he meets on his travels and, when Alex finds a compromising snap of Sophie among them, the outback air turns positively red with malice. The jaw-dropping wide shot scenery and tight, claustrophobic shots inside the car add to the brooding malevolent mood in this chest-gripping drama.
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