Suburban Mayhem (2006)

Director: Paul Goldman
Starring: Emily Barclay, Michael Dorman, Robert Morgan, Anthony Hayes, Laurence Breuls
Music by: Magic Dirt, The Spazzys, Roland S Howard

Tagline: The terror of the Big Brother generation come to life

Katrina (Emily Barclay) is a spoilt brat and uses her sexuality to get what
she wants. When her brother Danny (Laurence Breuls) is arrested for murder she goes off the rails more than usual and starts taking her aggression out on the community.

Her father John (Robert Morgan) is just about to throw up his hands in exhaustion from her and her de-facto Rusty (Michael Dorman) is lumped with her baby Bailee whenever she can't be bothered looking after her, which turns out to be every other day.

In between the scenes from the story is a faux current affairs report investigating
the whole thing with various interviews with the people involved. With reality television currently embedded in the entertainment industry, this gives the film a more accessible angle for fans of shows such as Big Brother and Australian Idol. It also reminded me of an evil version of Kath and Kim with a much darker sense of humour and storyline.

The character of Kenny (Anthony Hayes) is also an interesting addition to the story. He is very strange and the fact that he manages to steal scenes from Katrina is also to be highly commended. He is one of the only characters you actually feel sorry for in the whole movie as he is used up and spat out by Katrina and doesn't get any action in return.

The Australian suburban malaise is also well represented in the other characters and locations such as beauty salons, shopping malls and housing estates and other boring places that you would not even normally notice.

This movie is as much about gossip and reputation in the community and its effects as it is a Shakespearean morality tale with Katrina outdoing Lady MacBeth in her manipulations.

Another thing which will help this movie do well with younger audiences is the strong soundtrack with new songs from Magic Dirt (Double Double Dare), The Spazzys (Paco Doesn't Love Me) and many others. At least it should do well with Triple J listeners as they are a de-facto commercial radio station now.

Hopefully this film will become a cult movie amongst younger viewers. Even though the main character is very nasty, she is the pin-up girl for the irresponsible me-generation with their mobile phones seemingly welded to one hand always texting and a smoke in the other and a baby hanging off their hip. Think Brittney Spears, but with a more killing and you would be on the right track.

Mobile phones do play a big part in this movie which reminded me of the Korean movie Take Care of My Cat, but their purpose in this movie is much closer to who they were used in Infernal Affairs. It would be a brave company to try and claim there phones were used in this film, which made the name-dropping of the popular brand of sports shoes somewhat perplexing.

I am mystified as to the motivations of people only five years younger than me. So the age group depicted in this movie (born in the 1980s), may as well be from Mars. There are probably a lot of other things in the script that I missed as the film did have a very young writer.

Even though there are not many likeable characters in this movie and it doesn't end like you want it to (Karma is for people who are too wimpy to beat up people themselves), I think this movie will do well enough for some right wing newspaper columnists to kick up a stink about it and get more people in.

Rating: 8/10

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