In the wake of Wolf Creek it seems the Australian film industry is ready tackle the horror genre head on, and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Unfortunately its latest entry, Gone, fails to be the least bit thrilling.

GoneBelieve it or not script actually approaches watertight. A lot of horror movies feature young protagonists making stupid decisions that invite groans from the audience, but Gone keeps things fairly credible from the outset. British backpacker Alex (Shaun Evans) is wary of American Taylor (Scott Mechlowicz) from the very start, and the series of wrong decisions that follow progress in subtle and believable steps. When they meet up with Alex’s girlfriend Sophie (Amelia Warner) the tension builds as Taylor begins to play them off each other.

The film fills one with a sense of frustration as things get worse and worse. In this manner the script is quite successful. The problem is that the film is so darn generic that there’s no satisfactory release. This tale’s been told before (the prime example being Phillip Noyce’s Dead Calm) and Gone never really takes us anywhere new.

The performers do their job admirably. Evans puts in a perfect performance as the dodgy American, keeping things cool and collected. His darker side comes to the surface once or twice early on, and these moments crackle with menace. Mechlowicz is wonderful also, and Warner gets the hardest job, being introduced a little later on. As she’s only ever on screen in the presence of the other two it’s hard to really feel for her in those moments when she’s forced to make difficult choices.

It’s interesting to note that Gone doesn’t actually seem to feature any Australian characters, and really this film could have been set anywhere remote. It’s a thoroughly competent but rather tired entry to the horror genre. What we need is a film that plays around with our expectations, rather than merely confirming them.

Rating: 2.5 stars
Review by Stuart Wilson, 25th July 2007
Hoopla Factor: 2 stars

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