‘Dying Breed’ Plods Along Familiar Backwoods Horror Territory
In the backwoods of Tasmania, a group of hikers find themselves prey to a clan of inbred cannibals in the grindhouse horror film ‘Dying Breed’. Lacking in originality or nuance, this slow-burn Aussie entry into the hillbilly slasher subgenre fails to bring anything fresh to the cannibal family template.
Searching for the extinct Tasmanian tiger, four friends trek into the remote outback and soon learn of the legend of Alexander Pearce, an Irish convict who turned to cannibalism after escaping prison in 19th century Tasmania. Before long, they are targeted by Pearce’s modern day ancestors – a family of deranged hillbillies who see them as breeding stock and food.
Traped on unfamiliar terrain, their numbers dwindle as the cannibals pick them off in typical slasher fashion. But for over an hour, not much happens besides tedious setup. Limp attempts at mystery flop as we know exactly where the plot is headed.
When the gore finally arrives, it brings some overdue gruesome thrills. But even the practical effects can’t mask the stale premise. We’ve seen this all before in films like Wrong Turn, sans the exotic Outback backdrop. Even the talented cast, including Wolf Creek’s Nathan Phillips, can’t salvage the derivative script.
There were times in this film that I found myself getting extremely bored. The first three quarters of the film are slow and nothing actually happens until the last act of the film. The other thing that bothered was do we really need another film about inbred cannibals? We’ve had all the Texas Chainsaw films, all the Wrong Turn films, The Hills Have Eyes and now this one. I’m sure I’m missing some, but do you see my point?
The one good thing I can say about this film is that the acting is fairly good. Well, no Oscar nominees, but good for a horror film. Other than that, this film really doesn’t have a whole helluva lot going for it.
By the end, with the cannibals and remaining hikers facing off in predictable cat and mouse games, ‘Dying Breed’ feels like a generic, clunky take on well-worn tropes. A few spirited moments of carnage fail to inject much life into this terminally dull Deliverance knock-off. For a story about vicious cannibals, it has little bite.
During the first seconds of the end credits just 1 or 2 frames show what Pieman’s Pie really is made of.
This film is considered an Ozploitation picture, an Australian exploitation movie.