Australiens (2014) is bonzer, mate

It’s another micro-budget genre movie, this time rocking it at a tight $15,000 AUD (I’m not converting that into GBP, because by the time I’ve finished this review the figure will be horribly wrong) gathered by crowdfunding. It stars a gaggle of reasonably talented people, including writer Rita Artmann and writer/director Joe Bauer, and it has a bloody silly title as google keeps going “Did you mean Australians?”. It’s also funnier than Bouncer being drop-kicked by Skippy, and about as polite.

Screw you, opera!

The film starts as it means to go on: stupidly and hilariously. A young girl with two jerk brothers has an alien encounter and 10 years later everyone still thinks she’s crazy for going on about it. We get introduced to her hardly functioning but mostly amiable friends and family, and then the aliens turn up and start blowing everything up. Everyone legs it, the plot thickens, and every moment is a chance for a decent gag.

And some very childish ones

The jokes in question fall into three rough categories: taking the piss out of the alien abduction/invasion genre, taking the piss out of the quite dumb characters, are running gags. The latter are either jokes anyone can get (one of the party developing glowing green skin and no one noticing) or one’s that you can get but probably need to be Australian to really get (every time Tasmania gets kicked in the guts). Humour is very subjective, so I can’t promise you’ll laugh as much as I did, but there is a hell of a lot of solid timing on display along with extensive gurning.

“I want to believe”

There is also, very surprisingly, quite a lot of plot happening. This helps with the character element of it all, as the main ensemble feels like real (stupid) people, and adds a useful reality so you can roll with the more ludicrous parts of the story. There is also some actual character development in there, and you could reskin the whole thing as a serious movie if you really wanted to.

Also MECHS!!!

Not that the film takes itself seriously, except for trying to do its best. It even leans into the limited budget by having a campy, almost retro look to it and its effects. Things like aliens’ expressions and the animation of their craft become all important because if you’re laughing you won’t care how cheap things look. The cast really has to give everything their all, as it’s a lot of tight shots with minimal set dressings so they have nowhere to hide.

“Tell us now; Did You Leave The Gas On!?”

The team behind it has done two other works (The Void: Rebooted and The Killage) so it’s safe to say they have a niche and are going to carry on filling it. Well, based on this effort I’m going to carry on seeking it out, as this is an outright Treasure. It offers nothing more profound than 90 minutes of comedy and asks nothing more than your willingness to come along for the ride. Except if you’re from Tasmania, for reasons I hope an Australian will one day explain

The Raggedyman

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