If you are not into deadly snakes, scorpions, and jellyfish, you might want to skip Outback. The movie alleges to be part of a true story of survival, but the use of “urban legend” and Culture Crypt argue to the contrary. Whatever the case, while Outback might be your favorite restaurant, it is unlikely to be your favorite film. Did you know that 21 of the 25 deadliest snakes are in Australia? The Outback without water can be just as deadly. Like the great Southwest, The Outback possesses a desolate beauty all its own. The director allows you to experience the stark and barren vastness. Our couple makes lots of mistakes, apparently all too common in The Outback. I give their story 2.5 Gavels and it garners only a 4.9/10 IMDb score.
Wade and Lisa arrive in Sydney from the United States as an unhappy couple on a two week vacation. Lisa turned down Wade’s marriage proposal on the plane. A planned trip along the ocean turns inland after Wade is stung by a jellyfish. With only a phone with spotty service to guide them, Uluru is their destination. By now you have guessed they get lost. The Outback is such an unforgiving environment.
Most films start off with scenes of characters that are likable. Not so with The Outback. As they argue, they receive little empathy from the audience. Taylor Weise and Lauren Lofberg perform their roles quite well as Wade and Lisa. As we learn their backstory and endure their hardships, the onlooker begins to relate.
Wade’s reference to 9/11 victims drinking their own urine to survive predictably comes into play. The Outback keeps you on the edge of your seat as you never know which critter will pop up next. But, you also want to slap each as one stupid decision after another is made. The over-reliance on technology rather than common sense is just one part of the tale. Another is the length to which a person will go to save a loved one. Alas, neither brings anything new to the table. Ultimately, The Outback just doesn’t have enough material to make it memorable. A few critics used “horror” to describe the events about to befall our couple. I wouldn’t put this one under the horror genre, but it’s not a whole lot better.