July 26, 2010
Said to be inspired by “actual events”, Bill Bennett’s latest, Uninhabited (2010) had its very first public screening, complete with director and cast Q&A, on Saturday night at Melbourne’s Forum. Set and shot on one of many small secluded islands off Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, Uninhabited saw a twenty-five strong cast and crew set up with limited access to electricity and little resources to film an old fashioned ghost-story, hinged upon an idea laid dormant in Bill Bennett’s psyche for years.
Young couple Beth (Geraldine Hakewill) and Harry (Henry James) decide to take a ten-day break where they can truly relax, and where better for a romantic love-in than a remote island sans communicado? At first their holiday is great but as the night’s close in it becomes increasingly clear that they are not on the island alone. The discovery of an eerily hidden hut that colonial history left behind and its in tact visitor book filled with entries motivated solely by fear, the couple find themselves up against a relentlessly vengeful spirit determined not to let them get off the island alive.
Visually stunning and a thematically thoughtful dramatic-thriller, Uninhabited displays and confirms many of Bennett’s filmmaking talents. It is however disappointingly let down by a weak script and some not so hot acting from its leads. An interesting development in Bennett’s oeuvre and one for his fans to catch, Uninhabited ultimately plateaus at average.