Due in part to its idyllic beaches and outdoors destinations, Australia is a popular vacation spot. The weather gets hot, but it's never unbearably cold either. Yet, if we were to believe everything we saw in movies was true, then according to Australian horror, the country is one of the most perilous places to live. The continent is home to saltwater crocodiles and some of the most venomous snakes in the world. Also, it's not unheard of for people to get lost — or worse — in the Outback.
Of course, Australian cinema exaggerates for dramatic effect. Be that as it may, let's take a look at ten Aussie horror movies that you definitely need to see before you buy that plane ticket to the Land Down Under.
10 Alison's Birthday (1981)
When Alison was younger, she and her friends held a séance. In doing so, they conjured a spirit with a disconcerting message for Alison. A few years later, Alison returns home for her nineteenth birthday. Alison's parents died when she was a baby so her aunt and uncle have been raising her since then. The birthday celebration incurs a series of strange incidents, which Alison's boyfriend is suspicious of. And he has every right to as Alison's life is in mortal danger.
Without spoiling why it's classified as such, Alison's Birthday is a folk horror movie. You may figure out how it ends ahead of time, but it's an amusing journey getting there.
9 Bait 3D (2012)
A year after losing his best friend to a shark, a former lifeguard now works at a grocery store. When a tsunami causes massive destruction to the coastal city, a frenzy of great white sharks gets trapped in the flooding grocery store. It's now up to the employees and customers to locate a means of escape before they become a meal for these aquatic predators.
Bait 3D is definitely no Jaws, but it's up there as one of the better-made killer shark movies. Yes, the plot is absolutely ridiculous. But does that matter if you're looking for a fun shark thriller?
8 Scare Campaign (2016)
When a new, edgy competitor appears online, a horror-themed, hidden camera show chooses to go all-out with its next prank. The destination is an abandoned psychiatric hospital. And to the manager's shock, the gag goes terribly wrong and someone is hurt. This, however, is only the beginning of this night of terror.
Before Scare Campaign even ends, you might feel some fatigue from all the "gotcha!" moments. Or you think you have it all figured out before the ending credits. Whatever you think is going to happen, does happen. Just not in the way you expect.
7 Cut (2000)
A group of students wants to finish an infamous, abandoned slasher movie that ended because the director was murdered. In doing so, the filmmakers learn that the movie's villain isn't just a work of fiction.
Much like Scream, Cut pokes fun at all our favorite slasher tropes. To boot, the movie features Kylie Minogue and Molly Ringwald. What's there not to like about Cut? Aside from being a partial parody, the film is a rather flattering defense of anyone who loves horror movies. It's quite clear Cut reveres its own genre.
6 The Tunnel (2011)
When investigating what they think is a government conspiracy, a film crew finds itself in the abandoned train tunnels beneath Sydney. The more they explore, the more the crew realizes they're not alone.
The found-footage horror movie The Tunnel has an interesting history. Before it was released on home video, The Tunnel was officially distributed for free via BitTorrent. It's actually the first Australian film to take this route. As for the movie, The Tunnel is claustrophobic, disorienting, and plain scary. Admittedly, it's poorly lit because of the setting, but that only adds to the overall effect.
5 Black Water (2007)
A woman, her husband, and her sister go on a fishing tour. With a tour guide, they take a small boat out into the northern mangroves of Australia. It isn't long before they are caught off-guard by a territorial saltwater crocodile. The survivors finally spend the night hiding in the trees as the croc circles below.
There are other more popular saltie horrors (e.g., Rogue), but Black Water is the most realistic and terrifying of the bunch. They even use an actual crocodile in many scenes. The movie is based on an actual incident where some children hid in a tree after one of their friends was killed by a crocodile. A sequel called Black Water: Abyss is scheduled to be released in 2020.
4 Razorback (1984)
When investigating the illegal activities of a pet food cannery in rural Australia, an American journalist is murdered. Her husband travels abroad to investigate what happened and find those responsible for his wife's death. In the meantime, a giant, feral boar stalks him across the Outback.
If the idea of being stranded in the Outback isn't somehow scary enough for you, then imagine an elephant-sized killer boar hot on your tail. That should instill some fear in you. Razorback — a stellar example of how to do a "when animals attack" movie — is surprisingly ambitious and skillfully made.
3 Wolf Creek (2005)
Over the years, tourists and hitchhikers have gone missing in the Outback. Many of whom have never been found again. This is the story of three unsuspecting backpackers on their way to Wolf Creek National Park. When their mode of transportation breaks down, they're assisted by a bushman named Mick Taylor. Unfortunately for them, he's no good Samaritan.
Wolf Creek certainly does no favors for Australia's tourism business. It takes a while for this film to get going, but once it does, it's extra brutal. Wolf Creek was followed by one film sequel and a television spin-off that lasted for two seasons.
2 Long Weekend (1978)
A couple travels to the woodlands near the beach for a weekend getaway. While there, they show a total disregard for the environment. When they're not littering and harming the local wildlife, the couple bickers. Soon, nature decides it's not going to stand for this disrespect anymore.
Long Weekend was one of many "nature's revenge" horror movies that populated the '70s. Activism for the environment was on the rise, and these types of films reflected that urgency. Long Weekend is a disquieting entry in the sub-genre not because it sheds blood so casually. Instead, it leans towards psychological.
1 Next of Kin (1982)
A woman named Linda inherits a retirement home after her mother passes away. Not too long after, the residents begin to die one by one. Death wouldn't be out of the question for people their age, but something doesn't seem right about this. Linda finally starts to suspect that someone is killing off the elderly occupants. But who could it be?
Quentin Tarantino spoke favorably of this whodunit in the documentary Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! He has good taste seeing as Next of Kin is a creepy murder mystery that doesn't get enough attention.