Dark Age – Review (Umbrella Entertainment Blu-ray)
The Australian 1987 horror film Dark Age feels like a possible Jaws rip-off and older audiences Free Willy before there was a Free Willy. It stars Wolf Creek actor John Jarrett in awfully short shorts, the gorgeous Nikki Coghill/her boobs and a giant somewhat rubber looking crocodile. It features enough croc munching to please fans, and enough Aussies doing Aussie things to please Ozploitation fans.
The plot for Dark Age as I mentioned above feels like it wants to pay homage to Jaws, but also provide a message to all those animal lovers out there. The giant killer croc is known as Numunwari by the aboriginals; they feel that it is a sacred croc that shouldn’t be killed, even if it’s running loose and munching on people. John Jarrett’s character, Steve Harris, is a park ranger who is tasked with taking down the crocodile, but he starts to see where the aboriginals are coming from and concludes it would be better to trap the croc and put it back in a safe spot so it can live on being old and sacred. However, a local who has had a few run-ins with the crocodile wants the thing dead and starts causing trouble for Steve. Cue a Free Willy style ending.
Dark Age tries to be something a little different by delivering a story that wants the audience to sympathise with the giant killer croc. It’s pretty interesting on how it goes about doing that, by having some of the victims be scummy people, and for the most part, it works. I found myself cheering for the croc and wanting him to live. Also, John Jarrett in short shorts needs to be seen.
Umbrella Entertainment once again delivers a solid Blu-ray release, with a video transfer that keeps the film grain intact and the audio clear. I did run into an issue where the Blu-ray was choppy on a PS4 but was fine on my regular Blu-ray player, which will be an issue for viewers who only have a PS4.
Extra features for Dark Age feature an older interview with John Jarratt and Antony I. Ginnane, which was originally featured on the documentary Not Quite Hollywood (also available from Umbrella Entertainment), an audio commentary, trailers and a 1986 documentary with Grahame Webb, author of ‘Numunwari’, the book which inspired DARK AGE. There is definitely some fun features to check out.
Dark Age features solid acting, a story that tries to be a bit different than a normal Jaws rip-off, the beautiful Austrailian countryside, and Nikki Coghill’s boobs. Umbrella Entertainment delivers a fantastic Blu-ray, which is worth the price.
Blu-ray Special Features
Audio Commentary with Actor John Jarratt and Executive Producer Antony I. Ginnane
A Bicentenary with Bite: Revisiting “Dark Age”- Panel discussion with film historians Lee Gambin, Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, Emma Westwood and Sally Christie
Uncut Not Quite Hollywood Interviews with John Jarratt and Antony I. Ginnane
Living With Crocodiles: 1986 documentary with Grahame Webb, author of ‘Numunwari’, the book which inspired DARK AGE
Trailer and original
US release Home Video trailers
Image Gallery including rare press and promotional material