Set in a 50's Australia, the story picks up around the death of Celia's communist grandmother. Celia is a highly imaginative 9 year old girl who is haunted by seeing creatures called "Hobyahs", something she heard about in a book at school, at night. Celia is in many aspects a normal child. She has hopes of getting a rabbit, but this is something that is considered a pest in Australia at the time, and she hangs around with a set gang of friends. Her parents try to make her stop seeing them because they are communist, and they try to bribe her by giving her the rabbit she wants most; the white one with a black ear. There is also another gang of kids in the same age who they are constantly fighting with, and Celia even goes as far as trying out voodoo to get back at them.
Second Run DVD sent me this along with another movie I was expecting, and I have to admit I had really low expectations. The trailer had interesting parts but overall it didn't leave me impressed. But I wasn't in the mood to watch the other film they sent just yet so I decided to give this one a go straight away, no fiddling about. Now, after having seen it, I know very well that a trailer couldn't possible do the film justice. It has alot of content to cover and it manages to go from being a movie for children at times, to a dark drama, and sometimes jumping into horror territory.
The story picks up at the moment where Celia finds her dead grandmother in the bed, and we're soon taken to the funeral. The same night, Celia is hallucinating that she is visited by something called "Hobyahs", a creature from a book they are reading in school. Celia is in many ways a normal girl, but have a few slips here and there much like all kids, even though they sometimes seem to be a bit darker than others. Especially when it comes to a group of kids from the same town who she and her friends always are fighting with. Celia and her friends at one point try out voodoo to rid of their enemies. Celia's grandmother was a communist, something her parents didn't approve of, and for the very same reason she is not allowed to be with her friends. They tell her that if she stops hanging out with them, she can have the little rabbit she always wanted, even though rabbits were pests of the time. All of this and I feel I have only scratched the surface of what this movie consists of. It has some really bizarre moments even if it more often feels like any other drama.
My two "favorite" parts of the film, or if I should just call it the parts that I feel stood out the most, were (first of all) the hobyahs scenes. They were really well made and could definitely carry their own horror movie if the director would've gone that way. The scene where the hands comes up by the window as if it was trying to get in was genuinely creepy. The second part that honestly made me go "what the fuck.." was towards the end where they are putting on a KKK cap on a girl and then start lifting her only to put a noose around her neck. Granted, they let her down, but that scene really got to me. It really brought out the darker side of Celia one last time before ending the movie. And yes, Celia has some honestly dark moments in the movie, even though she is considered the heroine of the film it's hard to call her a nice girl.
Needless to say, the movie is dark, but manages to do it in a way so that I would even let my future kids watch the movie in a somewhat early age. If there was any point to doing that, of course. They probably wouldn't understand most of the things that are going on because it has very adult themes. Communism, death, hate, monsters and so on.
This is a film I highly recommend alongside of movies like "In A Glass Cage". It's not to be compared to it, but it's probably a film that fans of it will enjoy, like I did. It's very easy to get into and it starts out very interesting. Parts of it are less interesting, but will keep most people hooked as to what will happen next. Ann Turner has directed the hell out of this movie, that's for sure. Being her debut, but not having seen her other work, I can only imagine what else she has made. But then again, she could be a one-hit-wonder. But I doubt it. This was talent. Dark drama at it's finest!