Follow TV Tropes


Film / Killing Ground

Go To

A 2016 Australian horror-thriller film about Sam and Ian, a couple that decides to take a romantic trip for New Year's Eve in the outback. After they ignore a suggestion from a stranger discouraging them from visiting their intended destination, they arrive to find a mysteriously abandoned tent and a dehydrated toddler missing his parents — the consequences of a horrific act of violence. And the perpetrators are making their way back...


Compare Wolf Creek, another Australian horror-thriller about violence descending upon tourists. The film was also described as "Deliverance down under."

The film provides examples of:

  • Adult Fear:
    • Ollie is found wandering around by Sam, starving, dehydrated, and suffering from exposure and exhaustion. And the lone survivor of his family's mass murder. Then he's thrown violently to the ground by Chook, apparently killing him, but he's later revealed to have survived and wandered off... but was never found, and his fate is left ambiguous as Banjo loyally waits with him.
    • The fate of the Baker family in spades. Emily, trapped and frightened in the family jeep with a violent rapist taunting her outside, is agonizing enough. Her unarmed parents are unable to save her, and they're all led away to be tortured, with Emily and Margaret raped as Robert is tied up and made to watch, and Margaret and Robert cruelly used as target practice before they're all shot to death. Oh, and German and Chook are aware of Ollie and taunt Margaret with the idea of finding and killing him. Yeesh.
  • Advertisement:
  • Bittersweet Ending: German and Chook are dead, and Sam and Ian survive; however, the Baker family is still dead, Ollie's fate is left unknown, and the ambiguous look Sam gives Ian suggests that she may have lost all respect for him.
  • Bound and Gagged: The Baker family is killed this way. Sam ends up bound, but she eventually manages to get free.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Ian's Swiss army knife, which Sam uses to attack German and get away.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Subverted. Though Ian's medical skills are frequently brought up, and he is ready to use them to save Margaret, he never gets to use them.
  • Damsel in Distress: Sam gets captured by Chook who uses her as bait to lure in Ian. It doesn't work.
  • Deadly Road Trip: The film begins with the protagonists taking a New Year's Eve trip for the weekend.
  • The Determinator: Sam does not give up; she's the only one to attack the antagonists directly, refuses to abandon Ollie, doesn't scream when Chook demands she does (even as he's molesting her) and kills Chook in the end.
  • Advertisement:
  • Developing Doomed Characters: The Baker family. We learn that they are quite close, that Emily has nightmares that the family is trying to help with, and that Robert is a talented guitarist.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Chook is so shocked when he realizes Ian has fled instead of confronting him to save the captured Sam that he keeps Sam alive long enough to chase after him.
  • Foreshadowing: When German meets Ian, he warns him away from visiting his intended destination, not wanting him to discover the dead family.
  • He-Man Woman Hater: Chook is an unrepentant rapist who enjoys frightening women and only seems to view them as potential victims.
  • Hillbilly Horrors: The Deliverance comparisons happen for a reason.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: German is killed by one of his own rifles.
  • Hope Spot: When Ian and Chook go up during the hike, Chook realizes that Margaret is alive, and Ian discovers her trying to flee... But before Ian can offer any kind of medical assistance, Chook murders her.
  • Left Hanging: Ollie's fate is left ambiguous, as is the relationship between Sam and Ian.
  • Made of Iron: Ollie is probably the toughest baby in fiction.
  • Mama Bear / Papa Wolf: Despite being unarmed and basically defenseless, Margaret and Robert charge at Chook and German, who are holding rifles, to try to protect Emily. Unfortunately, it only gets them killed, too.
  • Mercy Kill: German begs Chook to do this after German is mortally wounded.
  • Police Are Useless: Even the antagonists are aware of it. The constable is unaware that German and Chook are anything more than petty thugs. Later on, when Ian returns to the grounds with two police officers in tow, they're killed by Chook almost immediately.
  • Potty Failure: Emily understandably wets herself after being forced out of her family jeep at gunpoint.
  • Right-Hand Attack Dog: Subverted. Banjo is set up to be German's evil hellhound, but though he does give chase to Sam, he immediately goes off-track to kill a pig and never acts as a real threat to anyone.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Sam wants to take a weak Ollie to the hospital and get help, but Chook (who has killed his parents) suggests Sam instead wait with Ollie while he and Ian hike to try to find his parents. Despite this being an incredibly stupid idea — they have no idea who Chook is, the area is too overgrown to seriously consider searching in without professional help, and the priority should be helping the injured victim instead of waiting to search for his likely-dead family — Ian immediately agrees. Fortunately, he doesn't actually die, but the sentiment is there.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: The film is nonlinear and jumps between Sam and Ian's trip, and the Bakers' trip. It later becomes apparent that the Baker's tent is actually abandoned, as they died days before Sam and Ian showed up at which point the film becomes a How We Got Here situation.
  • Villainous Friendship: German and Chook actually care about each other, with German pleading for a Mercy Kill from his friend, who is reluctant to go through with it.
  • Wham Line: A confused Ian reveals to Sam that he didn't save Ollie, and only ran to get help.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: