I hate camping.

Or at least I would if I ever went camping.

In the 30 or so years since I left the Scouts somewhat under a cloud (illicit booze, modelling glue and some visiting Girl Guides were involved, that’s all I’m saying…) I’ve never gone camping, never even been in a tent. I’ve never seen the attraction.

I’m a city boy. I like concrete under foot. A roof over my head. A warm, comfy bed. Indoor plumbing. Why would I want to sleep outside? On the ground? Eaten alive by midges and mosquitoes? Crapping behind a tree and accidentally wiping my arse with a nettle rather than a dock leaf? Burying my faeces like an animal? And that’s before we even get to the locals. Or the wildlife. Being chased from a field, in my underpants, by an enraged bull or a horny yokel (I’ve seen Deliverance…) are not my ideas of a fun relaxing weekend. So the fate that befalls the not-so happy campers of Landmine Goes Click when one of them steps on something a little more deadly than a cowpat just confirms all my prejudices about camping.

Backpacking through the mountains of rural Georgia seems like an idyllic getaway for three American tourists. Young lovebirds Daniel (Dean Geyer) and Alicia (Spencer Locke) are engaged to be married and the camping trip is a chance to reassure Daniel’s lifelong best bud Chris (Sterling Knight) that far from being a third wheel he’s going to remain an important part of their lives.

But Chris nurses a secret passion for Alicia, one that she may share, and when he steps on an untriggered landmine, a piece of unexploded ordinance left over from the 2008 war with Russia, it transpires that Daniel was not only aware of Chris and Alicia’s dalliance but that he’s engineered a way to punish them for it…

The prospect of blundering through the countryside and stepping on an unexploded landmine is one sure to loosen the bowels of any rambler (not me though, I don’t camp) and as Daniel abandons Chris to his fate and Alicia tries to come up with a way of saving him, Georgian director Levan Bakhia and Canadian screenwriter Adrian Colussi ratchet up the tension. Is the mine a dud? Or is it designed to explode the moment Chris steps off it? Chris and Alicia are trapped in the wilderness, miles from anywhere, with no mobile phone reception and no way of calling for aid. There’s no hope of rescue. And sooner or later Chris is going to get tired. He’s going to lose his balance. He is going to come off the mine. Whatever happens, it’s up to them.

But this is a film emerging via FrightFest, so, almost inevitably, things get a bit rapey when drunken local poacher Ilya (Kote Tolordava) discovers the trapped couple and offers them his help. But his aid has a price and he initiates a deadly game of quid pro quo, degrading and humiliating Alicia while the helpless Chris is forced to watch. So far, so predictable.

To say much more would ruin the grubby, sordid pleasures of Landmine Goes Click. Bakhia makes the most of his tight budget and, despite the exploitative twist the story takes, the film is refreshingly non-explicit and light on gore, Bakhia heightening the horror through the use of sound and the emotional reactions warring across Knight’s face. Bleak, claustrophobic and unrelenting, Landmine Goes Click is an increasingly hard film to watch with strong performances from Locke, Tolordava and former Disney kid Knight and a disquieting third act that’s genuinely devastating.

Frightfest Presents review: Landmine Goes Click
3.0Overall Score
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