As a piece of satirical horror, Two Heads Creek is bitingly comical and angrily violent. Jordan Waller’s cleverly discerned screenplay takes on Australia’s immigration policy and assembles a horror-comedy hybrid out of it, yielding breakneck dialogue, a droll sense of humor, and plenty of blood and guts. With an appreciation for Edgar Wright and early Peter Jackson, the film finds a hypnotizing rhythm between the quirky hilarity, the highly colored violence, and the salient satire.
Through the outsider perspective of Norman and Annabelle, the film lambastes the white individuals of Australia. Apple, Noah, and Eric are all caricatures to poke fun at, while Norman and Annabelle grow progressively wary of their surroundings. The local townsfolk are meat-loving, red-blooded racists who occasionally hold a celebratory event for the sole purpose of giving in to their vile urges. The two lead family members gradually uncloak the town’s dark secrets, though there aren’t that many shocking mysteries to unravel. Although the unfussy divulgence of Daisy’s (Madelaine Nunn) ancestry is quite unexpected and offers up a simple yet funny pop-culture quip.
“…bitingly comical and angrily violent.”
The patent racism that plagues the town of Two Heads Creek doesn’t stop there. Surprisingly—and quite acutely, I might add—Norman and Annabelle also expose their own internalized racism. In an early scene, Annabelle makes a foolish comment on how she and her brother are the only white people on the tour bus filled with Asian passengers. Annabelle asks, “Why is everyone Chinese?” to which one of the passengers retorts, “I’m Vietnamese!” For the most part, the fashion in which Jesse O’Brien toys with racism and immigration is fairly effective, though the satire only ever remains on the surface. That being said, the mockery still gives the violence and rage a landing platform from which to take off.
Coupled with Ryan Elliott Stevens’s expeditious editing and Samuel Baulch’s fluid cinematography, the film’s pacing never falters in speed and urgency. In particular, the opening sequence seamlessly introduces us to Norman, who first appears to be dead, as the camera jokingly emphasizes a bloody knife. It’s a memorable introduction that welcomes its drollery and playfulness in subjects that are customarily solemn. The old-school soundtrack is chiefly compiled of early 60s Normie Rowe, and it somewhat works given the film’s comedic, fast-paced style.
Jesse O’Brien’s Two Heads Creek is an amusing and blood-soaked satire on the pompous white folk of Australia. As immigration and racism continue to be hot button topics around the world, filmmakers will continue to exercise both for cinematic ventures. Perhaps more introspection should’ve been incorporated into Two Heads Creek to develop a louder voice, but the result is still a deliciously deranged horror-comedy, overflowing with blood and wit.
"…an amusing and blood-soaked satire on the pompous white folk of Australia."