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Film / Dying Breed

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Dying Breed is a 2008 film written by Michael Boughen, directed by Jody Dwyer, and starring Nathan Phillips as Jack, Leigh Whannell as Matt, Mirrah Foulkes as Nina, and Bille Brown as Rowan. An expedition of zoologists go into the bush in search for the last Tasmanian Tiger. Instead, they encounter the cannibalistic bogan descendents of 19th century Serial Killer Alexander Pearce.

See Van Diemen's Land for a more serious and historically-based take on the Alexander Pearce story.


This film provides examples of:

  • The Alleged Car: The beat-up yellow Holden ute note  owned by the cannibals.
  • And I Must Scream: Nina is Chained to a Bed by the cannibals and used to be as a breeding stock while Matt is paralysed and can only watch as he gets Eaten Alive by Nina's niece.
  • Animal Motif: The cannibals and the Tasmanian Tigers are both predators living in the remote wilderness of Tasmania, the flashback showing Pearce encountering a one in his flight to freedom; where they both consume parts of a police officer Pearce killed.
  • Annoying Arrows: Subverted. Jack accidentally shoots a villager with a crossbow and pins him to a tree.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: All of the explorers are murdered except for Matt and Nina, and there is no hope of escape.
  • Beard of Evil: Pearce's descendents are dirty and unkempt.
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  • Bear Trap: The cannibals use these to capture their victims. Jack dies when one closes around his head.
  • Cannibal Clan: Pearce's inbred descendants.
  • Cannibal Larder: Matt and Jack search Rowan's shack in the bush and find a surprisingly neat and clean kitchen where meat is in varying stages of preparation. It is only when they discover Rebecca's body hanging from a tree out back being bled do they realise exactly what they have found.
  • Can Only Move the Eyes: When Matt is drugged and paralysed, all he can do is watch as Nina is brutalised and he is Eaten Alive.
  • Creepy Child: Nina's niece.
  • Dead Guy on Display: Rebecca's dismembered body is strung up on a tree.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • When Nina's sister is trapped between the cannibals who want to recapture her and a sheer drop, she chooses to let herself fall. It's unclear whether she considered death a better alternative or just hoped she would survive the drop, but either way, she dies. Nina does the same thing when cornered on a bridge over a fast moving river, but survives her fall. Which was probably for the worse.
    • The ferryman's wife slits her own throat out of guilt.
  • Expy: The plot is very similar to contemporary American films about cannibal rednecks such as Wrong Turn, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and The Hills Have Eyes (2006).
  • Fangs Are Evil: See Scary Teeth below.
  • Fate Worse than Death: At the end, Nina is Chained to a Bed so the cannibals can use her as breeding stock.
  • Fingore: When Rebecca puts her hand up to Rowan's face, he bites off two of her fingers.
  • Gorn: Lots of it.
  • Guns Are Useless: In the prologue set in 1822, a policeman tries to shoot Pearce with a pistol. The gun misfires, and Pearce bites the copper's neck.
  • Historical Character's Fictional Relative: The inhabitants of the small Town with a Dark Secret are all descended from Alexander 'the Pieman' Pearce: a real world convict and cannibal.
  • Human Resources: The flesh of the cannibals' victims is made into pies, and sold to passing travellers.
  • I am a Humanitarian: Revealed later in the film.
  • Ironic Nursery Tune: The morbid nursery rhyme the little girl sings about the Pieman.
  • Last of Their Kind: The Tasmanian Tiger.
  • Land Down Under: Combined with elements of the Savage South trope.
  • Murderers Are Rapists: Due to generations of inbreeding, the cannibals are suffering from low fertility and rely on unwilling Sex Slaves to produce the next generation.
  • My Car Hates Me: The car Matt climbs into to get him and Nina away from the cannibals refuses to start, and to add insult to injury, half the key snaps off in the ignition.
  • Powerful Pick: Towards the end of the film, the ferryman's wife kills one of the cannibals by burying a pick in his chest.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: As above.
  • The Secret of Long Pork Pies: An example with actual pies.
  • Scary Teeth: Many of the cannibals have sharp, oversized teeth, most disturbingly Nina's niece. She keeps them hidden under a set of normal looking dentures and only reveals them when she begins to eat Matt.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Due to its remoteness, the inhabitants of the town are all related to each other. They murder and eat strangers to keep their location a secret.