Thursday, July 30, 2020

Meat Pies and Rare Tigers: Dying Breed (2008)

Dying Breed (Australia, 2008)
Rating: **1/2
Starring: Nathan Phillips, Leigh Whannell, Bille Brown

It's been years since her sister was found dead after traveling to Tasmania and Zoologist Nina puts it to herself to honor her and bring closure to the loss by continuing her late sibling's research on the Tasmanian Tiger, a supposedly extinct marsupial. Joined by her boyfriend Matt, his best friend Jack, and Jack's latest female companion, Rebecca, the group travels to the same wilderness where the tiger's tracks were recently found, running afoul with some locals who may or may not have sinister intentions. Not too long, someone starts stalking the four, hungering for the taste of raw meat. 

Dying Breed (2008)
is one of them titles that did all the right things but I can't really put myself to enjoying it any more than I could; I, for a start, like how it plays around with character dynamics and plot building as we do get plenty of scenes with our four main casts just hanging around, experiencing local sensibilities and feeling each other's vibes. It helps when the script accompanying their performance is fortunately competent enough to give us more than your one-dimensional meat bags waiting to be slaughtered. This leads to, in turn, a slow burn of sorts wherein we're teased a bit with false scares and hints to past atrocities that's glaringly obvious to what it's implying, eventually stepping into bloody bodycounter territory which brings me to my next point.

At the end of it all, the plot basically devolves into another inbred cannibal slasher-type that ties in Tasmania's true crime figure Alexander Pierce, an Irish convict transported to the island when it was then known as Van Diemen's Land, allegedly cannibalizing on his fellow inmates during multiple escapes in order to survive. The effort of exploiting this figure by throwing in this idea of a clan breeding for the sake of keeping bloodlines alive is well appreciated, but it's really nothing new. Not with the likes of the Wrong Turn movies or The Hills Have Eyes remake films going about with inbred mutants killing and eating people. With this, the payoff is simply too standardized, if not underwhelming for my liking, but it still comes with decent-looking murders and a downer ending that's effectively disturbing so, frankly, not a complete loss.

With its lush cinematography still pleasing in an aesthetic sense and its direction pacing the plot fluidly, you got to give credit when credit is due and Dying Breed (2008) has the good worth of being watchable at least. Yes, lacks anything new to be excited over (that and a convincing CG Tasmanian tiger), but that doesn't disregard the production's efforts to keep this movie afloat and be moderately enjoyable. If you're not looking for anything too complex and would just like a simple slasher with a plot flow, buckets of blood and basic thrills, you can start off with this little number.

1 male had his neck bitten open
1 female found tortured and drowned
1 female had her neck snapped
1 male hacked on the head with a cleaver
1 male had his neck caught and crushed by an animal trap
1 male axed on the chest, falls off a bridge
1 female had her throat cut
1 male cannibalized
Total: 8

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