Hey gang, Valkor here. And as the year is coming fast to a close, I’ll be spending a good chunk of that time going through my film backlog, to share with you guys the good, bad, and the ugly of cinema. Coming to the MediaView main stage is a horror from Australia; I still consider Lake Mungo one of my favorites, and if you haven’t seen it, then definitely give it a go. And while Lost Gully Road won’t knock Mungo from its top spot, it’s still a worthy addition to any horror collection. And definitely worth checking out! Some spoilers ahead, though I do my best to steer clear of the ending.
Lost Gully Road centers on Lucy (Adele Perovic), who makes a lone trek to a cabin in the woods. It’s there that she’s supposed to wait for her sister all the while lying low in an escape from what I’m assuming was an abusive relationship (we learn this as we progress through the film). What exactly is their ultimate game plan? We never find out. But it involves a bag that we learn, later in the film, is of some importance. But this means that Lucy needs to stay under the radar, with zero access to the internet, smartphone, social media, or television. Her only human interaction is the occasional visit from the cabin’s hostess and a one-off from a creepy store clerk. But we spend a good chunk of the film with Lucy adjusting to outdoor/cabin life. Yet there’s also a mysterious presence that lurks in the background, popping up throughout the film, though she mainly brushes it off. But it all comes to a climatic and disturbing conclusion when the haunting presence that's been creeping throughout the entire film, finally makes itself known. And this one won't end well for Lucy. Not at all!
Truth time: I went into this review not liking Lost Gully Road; to me, the ending didn’t make much sense, which sort of ruined the rest of the film. That was until, as I was writing the review, I made the connection between Lucy and the ghost. And then I watched the film a second time. I get it and I dug the fuck out of it. And what I learned from this experience is, you can’t always take a film at its face value. Sometimes, you have to dig a little deeper.
If you can handle single-acting, character-driven horror, then Lost Gully Road is the film for you. Much of what goes on in the film deals with Lucy and how she handles her alone time, which she doesn’t handle all that well as the combination of loneliness and creepy instances takes its toll on her sanity. But there’s something of a romantic connection between her and the ghost that haunts the place that plays out before the end; I didn’t catch it upon first viewing. However, watching it a second time, I understand why it was pissed with Lucy by the film’s end (slight spoiler). The ending is brutal to watch, but it ultimately gives way to the ghost giving up the fight and letting Lucy go (still doesn’t end well for her). Also, the film does a fine job of taking its time building up towards that climactic ending, while not dropping tons of scary imagery in your face. Like, it’s just enough to keep things interesting. And it's what kept me hooked through much of the film. Adele Perovic does a mighty fine job carrying the film. And I’m glad it wasn’t done with a lot of her character just talking to herself. Rather, we see a transition of her character from nervous and standoffish to someone who was erratic and afraid. In the end, Lost Gully Road proved to be a horror that’s not all that unique, yet still worth watching.
I get that the film isn't heavy on the frights, but I wouldn't have mind a few jump scares here and there.
Lost Gully Road is available now on Digital and DVD. And while I don’t see many approving this sort of film, given that there’s plenty of silent moments and not much in terms of action or scares, I’d recommend checking it out. I found it very captivating, intimate, yet equally disturbing of a horror/thriller film; It’s a solid effort from Director Donna McRae, and I look forward to more of her works in the future. Until then, out of TOV 5 stars, I’m giving Lost Gully Road 4.5.