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Ben Nagy reviews ‘Storm Warning’:  Tourists run afoul of backwoods redneck pot-growers — but it’s Australia, so it’s different

Storm Warning is a 2007 flick done by a director who rose to horror fame for a spell at the turn of the century with a lot of stuff from the 1970s.

Got that?

Jamie Blanks directed Urban Legend and Valentine, two of the more memorable installments in the late 1990s “Hey, slashers are cool again” cycle Hollywood had before the declining quality and box-office returns of the Scream and I Know What You Did sequels got executives to shelve slashers from the wide-release schedule for the most part.

Blanks is a double threat as a composer, though, so he found a bunch of work composing the music for a bunch of flicks for a spell before coming back to direct a pair of horror flicks in Australia. Storm Warning being the first one.

Here it’s less about the storm and more about two people who go out fishing in Australia, then end up being fishes out of water themselves when they run into isolated pot-growing rednecks who’ve killed at least one person and have poor dietary habits.

Ben Nagy reviews 'Storm Warning':  Tourists run afoul of backwoods redneck pot-growers — but it’s Australia, so it's different 1
Pia (Nadia Fares) and Rob (Robert Taylor) are reliant on Rob’s crummy nautical abilities, which leads to trouble in “Storm Warning.” (Photo courtesy IMDB.com).

The first problem French girlfriend Pia (Nadia Fares) and boyfriend Rob Chapman (Robert Taylor), who’s an attorney, are on vacation and then rent a dinky wooden sailboat with a dinky motor to go fishing out in a bay. Rob sucks as a sailor because they don’t have a weather radio and when it starts clouding up, instead of calling it a day and heading back to port, they yank the anchor up and motor over into a nearby river inlet with some groves.

Blanks sets up some pretty good overhead shots showing the isolation they’re going into on the boat (this is before drones) and then, of course, because Rob is a not-good sailor, the propeller gets fouled as they boat up into an irrigation drain.

Leaving the boat to seek shelter, see a truck, get spooked by the guys in it, go into a random farmhouse with a bunch of abandoned cars in the yard and a scarecrow. Then it finally starts storming.

It’s pretty paint-by-numbers from here on out. The farmhouse is decorated in mid-century West Texas redneck with tin siding, hubcaps hanging about, nudie pinups, an anvil and a possible Bruce Lee poster. They find the guys’ blow-up sex dolls and their pot grow operation, unintentionally ruining it. If you’ve read “The Three Bears,” you know what happens next.

No. 1 redneck son Jimmy (David Lyons), left, and Rob (Robert Taylor) discuss the intricacies of the Australian legal system in "Storm Warning." (Photo courtesy IMDB.com)
No. 1 redneck son Jimmy (David Lyons), left, and Rob (Robert Taylor) discuss the intricacies of the Australian legal system in “Storm Warning.” (Photo courtesy IMDB.com)

The guys come back. Head brother Jimmy (David Lyons, the Revolution TV series) says the F-word and “slick” a lot. Brett (Matthew Wilkinson, Ghost Rider, Mission Impossible 2) is the quiet, awkward one. They live there with their dad (John Brumpton, The Loved Ones, Romper Stomper) who’s an old, violent cuss who beats the crap out of them. From there on out, it’s survival mode for the protagonists as the Australian rednecks steal the pair’s pants, make Pia show them her butt and then force her to kill a joey wallaby since she burned some eggs.

Course, these are not the smartest dingoes in the outback, cause they throw Rob and Pia into a barn full of rusty death implements without tying em up or anything, and then underestimate the power of a French woman seeking vengeance, leading us to …

Ben's Bloody Best

Best Reason for Disqualification from the Australian Open Bassmasters Tournament: Chapman beats the one fish Pia caught to death with a wine bottle and says, “That’s fishing, baby.”

Best Indicator Rob has a Tenuous Grasp of the Legal System: After breaking into the farmhouse, he tells Pia it’s not really breaking in because there’s nobody in the house. Saul Goodman had more integrity.

Best Psycho: Jim, who intimidates the unexpected visitors by saying, “Give me some of that parlei voux qui-qui lingo” in an Australian Pepe Le Pew imitation, then getting more crude with “We just want to see your old lady’s ass,” then going full redneck cannibal with “It wouldn’t be the first time we taste the long pig, eh?”

Best Strategy for Mental Health Purposes: The Australian pot-growing hillbilly clan’s dog, Honky, doesn’t like hanging out with his masters, so he keeps running off so the rednecks have some distractions while the couple’s imprisoned.

Ben Nagy reviews 'Storm Warning':  Tourists run afoul of backwoods redneck pot-growers — but it’s Australia, so it's different 2
Pia (Nadia Fares) has prepared a surprise for the head of the Australian rednecks whose house they stumbled upon. (Photo courtesy IMDB.com)

Best Get Her Flowers if You Get Out of It Alive: Pia doesn’t have much in common with her lawyer boyfriend: “I just don’t understand justice.” She gets pretty hacked off at his seamanship — “We are castaways, damn you!” and also basically ends up doing everything after Rob gets his tibia whacked and serves as a stationary waste of space for the rest of the flick.

Best Preventive Measure: Pia fashions a whangdoodle mutilation device out of a jar and its lid that she places within her person just in case the Aussie rednecks go through with their threats of assaulting her.

Not much groundbreaking stuff here as it’s a variation on the redneck psycho menace hostage flick started by Deliverance with the typical townie vs. boonie conflict. A little bit of the women empowerment angle of I Spit on Your Grave tops the cake. It’s not near the higher level of Wolf Creek or Road Games in terms of Aussie psycho flicks, but still perfectly acceptable, especially in how the bad guys get theirs.

Two and a half stars.

You can stream it for free on Vudu, or it’s available Amazon, YouTube, Google Play and, of course, on physical media.

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