Starting with a prologue that’s ‘Finding Bigfoot meets Mad Dog Morgan’ we find ourselves in the Australian gold-fields of 1825 where notorious bush-ranger Thunderclap Newman is about to meet his maker before we switch to the modern day and two eager treasure hunters, Jack (Shawn Brack) and Kent (Anthony Ring), who are hot on the trail of Newman’s lost stash.
Before long though we have ourselves in a very different situation with Jack on the run through the bush only to bump into local ranger Rhiannon (Melanie Serafin) and Kent stalking them with bad intentions.
Seems a little gold fever has entered Kent’s bloodstream and he is no longer willing to share the booty. He wants the gold and he wants Jack and Rhiannon dead. Unfortunately, no one factored a big hairy predator into the equation. A big hairy predator who is hot on their trails. Throw in Vernon Wells in a great little cameo as Detective McNab who is looking for a serial killer (9 people have disappeared in this area in 4 years) and you have your cast.
That’s right, this film is carried on the back of three actors, a cameo and a monster. And what’s more it is carried well. Brack and Ring’s chemistry especially holds this film together. Brack’s everyman image, no muscle-bound hero just luck and sheer will to survive versus Ring’s desperation and greed make for a great match up.
As the movie rolls forward and the injuries mount, you then have the Yowie stalking them. (Spoiler alert – McNab doesn’t make it.) With the unfortunate Rhiannon used as bait by both Kent and then the Yowie it all builds up to an explosive climax (pun intended) as we find out just how Thunderclap Newman got his name.
This is a real treat, with some stunning scenery, solid acting, a fast-paced story that, despite the limitations of a small cast and a ridiculously low budget, manages to hold together and a good old fashioned ‘man in a monster suit’ monster courtesy of Neal Harvey that the director (producer and writer) Travis Bain uses wisely.
Sure, there’s limitations with the video, and limitations with sound, sure you could wish for something bigger (but it wouldn’t necessarily be better) but this little baby far transcends its micro budget, its small cast, its humble beginnings to be one damn fine b-grade entry into the bigfoot cannon. It looks great, it doesn’t slow down and its pace is just about right, what more could you want?