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Throwback (2014)

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Writer/director Travis Bain’s Throwback is not a very good movie. I felt it was best to just come out and say it to get that part out of the way early. The acting, the dialogue, the pacing, the special effects and pretty much everything in the film are a real struggle. With that being said, Throwback does have a bit of charm and offers up a few fun moments.

Two friends, Jack (Shawn Brack) and Kent (Anthony Ring), head deep into the remote outback of Australia in hopes of finding some treasure. Over the years a number of different people have made this very trek with the same treasure in mind only to never return. Things go remarkably well for Jack and Kent at first as they actually find the treasure. Of course this leads to greed taking over and Kent turning on Jack in an attempt to keep all the treasure for himself. A struggle ensues and ends with Kent taking the money and thinking he’s drowned Jack. He hasn’t and Jack comes back after him.

As Jack, Kent and a park ranger they encounter along the way named Rhiannon (Melanie Serafin) battle it out over the treasure, they come across a rather large beast. This large creature is about 7 or 8 feet tall and completely covered in hair. He basically looks like bigfoot, which is what he is, but he’s the Australian version known as a yowie.

This is where I give Throwback a little credit. The yowie is clearly played by an actor is a gorilla-like suit. It looks incredibly fake, particularly the hands. Whenever we get a good shot of the hands we can tell that they’re rubber. Same goes for the face of the yowie, but we don’t see much of that. I’m actually ok with this. In a low budget monster movie I’d much rather see a guy in a suit than poorly done CGI. This is where Throwback gets it’s old-school charm. This kind of feels like a movie that would have come out of the Roger Corman camp.

Unfortunately that’s the lone highlight. The yowie is actually in the movie quite a bit but doesn’t do much. Most of his time on screen is spent trying to reach people who are just a bit too far away from him. This is kind of  a bummer. If I’m going to watch a bigfoot movie, or this case a yowie movie, I want to see the yowie rip people to shreds. Turn it straight up to 11 and have some fun with it. We don’t get any of that.

If we can’t get massive amounts of yowie destruction, then at least provide some interesting characters that can keep us entertained while the yowie is off screen. Jack, Kent and Rhiannon are all kind of boring and bland. And they make really, really dumb decisions. Kent especially has a bad moment. At one point he gets handcuffed to a tree root by what looks to be some shoddy handcuffs. Surrounding Kent are some pretty nice size rocks which would probably be great for breaking the handcuffs. Instead of even attempting that, Kent takes a rock and smashes his handcuffed hand. I don’t know the logistics behind this, but apparently he’s able to smash it enough to get it out of the cuffs. Come on Kent, think. At least try to break the handcuffs before turning your hand into hamburger.

Throwback 2

You’re probably wondering how Kent got handcuffed, right? Well, Vernon Wells did it. Yep, Vernon Wells plays in Throwback as well. What purpose his character serves other than just getting Wells into the movie I don’t know. Wells plays Detective McNabb who is hiding out in the rain forests of the outback. He goes all out wearing a suit made of leaves. Recently people have come up missing in this area of the outback so I guess this is how the detective plans to get to the bottom of it. When Detective McNabb runs into Kent, he assumes Kent has something to do with the missing persons. Naturally he decides to handcuff Kent and then wander off, never to be seen again. This is a shame because I think more of this weird detective would have been fun. He should get his own movie.

Watching Throwback felt like I was watching an old VHS. Partly because of the quality of the material, but also because the quality of the film in general. The entire movie didn’t look this way, but good chunks of it looked like watching an old VHS. Either that or like it was shot on film. I’m not sure how it was shot or if it was intended to look this way, but it actually helps. Go ahead and throw that in the plus column.

Overall, there’s not a lot of positives with Throwback. I think the filmmakers had their heart in the right place and made a very sincere, admirable attempt, but in the end they fell a little flat. I’d go ahead and throw this one back.

Cast

Shawn Brack Shawn Brack Jack
Anthony Ring Anthony Ring Kent
Melanie Serafin Melanie Serafin Rhiannon
Vernon Wells Vernon Wells Detective McNab
Warren Clements Warren Clements The Yowie
Andy Bramble Andy Bramble ‘Thunderclap’ Newman
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