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A Lonely Place to Die



In the Australian thriller by director Julian Gilbey (the dreadful Doghouse), five bikers (two couples and one fifth wheel), tummies full of smoked-mackerel-and-egg sandwiches, have just embarked on their high adventure when one hears a muffled cry for help.

It's coming from a pipe poking out of the ground. Digging into the earth, the hikers find a little girl, alive, scared and speaking only Croatian. They assume someone with sinister motives put her there and, given the pipe that allowed her to breathe, would be coming back for the girl. They are correct, and they learn this the hard way, because they fail to get out of the peaks and into peace quick enough.

Gilbey's man-vs.-man-vs.-nature tale, however, has no such speed problem. It moves at a consistently rapid pace until the third act, when its Deliverance/The Most Dangerous Game hybrid throws some new characters into the act to shave the remainder down to a more conventional crime edge.

All along the way, however, Melissa George (30 Days of Night) is our guide, being at once maternal (protecting the kid) and masculine (kicking ass). It's a rather physical role, not to mention mostly stripped of vanity, and George wholeheartedly accepts the challenge.

So should you, for solid suspense.

Disappointingly, the DVD has only a trailer for extras, because I think it'd be interesting to hear about the physically grueling challenges this high-altitude, high-stakes project certainly wrought.  —Rod Lott

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