Australian writer/director Damien Power makes his feature debut at the helm of Sundance shocker Killing Ground, which calls to mind great Ozplotation horrors of the latter 20th Century – and the more recent Wolf Creek – in placing a set of happy innocents into the middle of the Australian bush and having things go very, very badly for them.

But there’s a freshness to Power’s approach, in playing with timelines and serving up tension-inducing imagery and real moral conflicts faced when good people are under attack. “The kernel of the idea was this image of an orange tent in the bush that just popped into my head,” Power told me. It was, he said, “that feeling you get when you’re camping in the middle of nowhere and you’re feeling alone and isolated, and the rules of civilization don’t apply out there.”

He wanted to craft an “old-school survival thriller” he explained. “There’s a long tradition in Australian cinema about white Australians and the sense of unease in the landscape, in the bush.”

Joining him at Deadline’s Sundance Studio were actors Maya Stange and Aaron Glenane. “The character of Chook was such a fascinating mindset to wrap your head around,” said Glenane, of the dark villain of the piece. “When I saw it on the page I was drawn to it in a dark kind of way. Just trying to understand and justify where his actions were coming from was really challenging, and I liked the challenge.”

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Actors, directors, filmmakers and special guests visiting the Deadline Studio at Sundance 2017 enjoyed sweet and savory treats, custom cocktails and more at Applegate’s REEL FOOD CAFE. Find out more about Applegate and their mission to change the meat we eat at www.applegate.com.