Facts and Figures
Run time: 90 mins
Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5
IMDB: 7.7 / 10
On a motorbike adventure, four city guys camp overnight in a field outside a small town, where they find a caravan seemingly abandoned when Irish travellers were chased away. But it's not empty. And a group of armed men turn up, chasing three of them (Sweeney, Geoffrey and Richards) into the woods while the fourth (Edwards) is tied up in the caravan with brother and sister travellers (Jagger and Muir). One by one, they capture or kill each other. This escalates into a series of increasingly grisly encounters, including a sadistic bare-knuckle boxing match.
Stiff dialog defeats the cast, so nothing is very convincing. And it doesn't help that filmmaker McManus barely sets up the characters; we know virtually nothing about them except the key facts the script feels we need to know, so it's not always clear who we should care about. When someone dies, it seems almost random, and as everyone's behaviour gets increasingly extreme, believability goes out the window.
At least McManus keeps things moving briskly, leaping over implausibilities and distracting us from corny interaction with menacing sounds and insinuating editing. Some scenes are actually rather intriguing, such as Sweeney's conversations with Muir's trashy blonde. But everything is undermined by clunky plotting, from a lame reason why no one has a mobile phone to the continual presence of guns just because the writers can't think of anything more inventive. And the boxing scene feels deeply gratuitous.
McManus is clearly trying to blur the moral boundaries here, shifting the perspective to confuse us about whether the city boys or the travellers are the real villains. He's also commenting on how prejudice can blind us to what's really going on. But this is somewhat undermined by the continual violence and death, even after a late revelation makes it all feel strongly tragic. But by the end, we're unsure if the film has any real point beyond that most men are vicious thugs at heart. Or maybe it's that men like making movies about vicious thugs.