Thought I would combine this post with a little history and a movie review on the Snowtown murders and the movie based on them, as I watched this movie for the second time on the weekend.

John Bunting- Ringleader

The Snowtown murders occurred between 1992 and 1999 in South Australia. In total there were 11 victims, whose bodies were found in barrels in an abandoned bank building in Snowtown, a small town 145 km north of Adelaide. Only one of the 11 victims was actually killed in this town, and none of the victims or the perpetrators were from there. Four men were arrested and charged over these murders, with the ringleader John Bunting and two others receiving multiple life sentences to be served cumulatively.

The victims were chosen on impulse by John, who believed these people were involved in alleged sexual behaviour with children (John hated pedophiles). However, most of this information was based on weak evidence and rumors spread around the town. Some others were killed due to his dislike of drug users or just because they were gay. What makes this story more horrific is that most of the victims were friends, acquaintances, and even family members of the group. The victims were brutally tortured and then killed, with their bodies then being stored in barrels with hydrochloric acid which mummified their remains. Voice messages were recorded by each victim before their death telling loved ones they had gone away, or a reason for not being seen for a while, which would mean that people would not assume they were missing anytime soon.

As you would expect, these murders gathered Snowtown lots of unwanted attention and, understandably, the residents wanted the town’s name to be changed. However, this was never done.

Abandoned bank in Snowtown where the bodies were found

Now that was a little re-cap of the history of the actual events for you: now for the movie review.

This movie gained attention when it won awards at the Cannes Film Festival in 2011. Apart from the distressing and disturbing nature of the movie, the director does an excellent job of portraying what would have happened. However, the setting up of characters and their relationships with one another are a bit hard to follow at times. I believe this is because everyone is linked to one another somehow, but to actually establish these links takes a while.

Some of the more brutal scenes in this movie are actually very hard to sit through without looking away. I believe this is so because these forms of torture and abuse actually happened to real people – it is like you are watching the actual murders take place.

The performances in this film are amazing. One of the lead actors (Lucas Pittway, who played Jamie Harvey) had no previous acting experience and was just recruited from a shopping centre. His performance, in my eyes, was incredible. He played an awkward, 16 year old kid who overtime loses his innocence as he has got caught up in these murders under the influence of John Bunting, who was dating Jamie’s mother.

Overall, I enjoyed this movie, despite its brutal subject matter, but it could have made the start a little less confusing by setting up the story better. I give this film 3.5/5 stars.


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