Lightning fails to strike twice for Aussie thesp John Jarratt in the soggy flood-set thriller “Savages Crossing.” In a blatant attempt to reprise the grinning psychopath of celebrated Oz slasher “Wolf Creek,” Jarratt stars, scripts and exec produces what amounts to a clumsy homemovie. Despite a cast of well-liked, competent home-grown thesps, pic was greeted with local indifference. Unsuspecting international genre fests may be tempted to look, but this film underachieves even as schlock.
Fresh from rehab, well-dressed psychotic Phil (John Jarratt) comes looking for his fearful wife (Angela Punch McGregor) and grown-up son (Charlie Jarratt), who have fled. The family reunites at a Queensland truck stop near the titular river, and several innocent (and not-so-innocent) bystanders get caught in the domestic dispute’s crossfire. Limp yarn plods along under Kevin James Dobson’s lackluster direction, which applies slo-mo in a futile attempt to raise tension along with the yarn’s flood waters. A talented cast of Oz thesps wades through, but Jarratt’s placement of his inexperienced son in a pivotal role amounts to parental abuse. Bombastic score by thesp Craig McLachlan jars nerves more than the plot. Tech credits are cheap.