The 2022 theme for International Women’s Day is Break The Bias, and if there’s ever a bias that needed breaking, it’s the one saying only men direct genre films. Here’s some fantastic genre films we’ve loved, and upcoming releases we can’t wait to see, all directed by Australian women.
The Babadook by Jennifer Kent (horror)
An incredible feature debut from Aussie director Jennifer Kent, this horror stars Essie Davis as a widowed mother trying to care for her erratic six-year-old son, who fears a pop-up book monster called the Babadook will kill them both.
Streaming on Netflix, Binge and Prime Video.
The Nightingale, also by Jennifer Kent (thriller)
Kent followed up The Babadook with this brutal period thriller following a young Irish convict Claire as she seeks vengeance against a British officer in the Tasmanian wilderness, with the help of an Aboriginal tracker named Billy. The Nightingale debuted and won two awards at Venice International Film Festival.
Streaming on 7Plus and Beamafilm.
Relic by Natalie Erika James (horror)
A Stan Original and feature debut from Natalie Erika James, Relic is a haunted house horror that sees a daughter and granddaughter searching for their dementia-ridden matriarch after she inexplicably vanishes in her old country home.
Streaming on Stan.
Cargo co-directed by Yolanda Ramke (horror)
Martin Freeman leads this post-apocalyptic thriller as a father desperately searching for safety for his baby daughter. When a violent pandemic claims his partner's life and infects his bloodstream, he must find a safe refuge for his daughter before he too transforms. Directed by Yolande Ramke and Ben Howling and based on their 2013 short film of the same name.
Streaming on Netflix.
Berlin Syndrome by Cate Shortland (horror thriller)
A passionate holiday romance takes a sinister turn when an Aussie photojournalist finds herself locked in her lover's apartment, and discovers he has no intention of letting her out. Cate Shortland went on to direct Marvel’s Black Widow.
Streaming on Netflix.
A special shout out to those working on micro budgets:
Dark Whispers, horror anthology created by Megan Riakos
Dark Whispers is a horror anthology of short films, directed by eleven women directors from across Australia. Delving into the twisted human (and not-so-human) psyche, there’s something for all tastes from psychological horror to vampires. Directors: Angie Black, Briony Kidd, Isabel Peppard, Janine Hewitt, Jub Clerc, Kaitlin Tinker, Katrina Irawati Graham, Lucy Gouldthorpe, Madeleine Purdy, Marion Pilowsky, Megan Riakos.
Rent on iTunes, Google Play, YouTube and Vimeo.
Lost Gully Road by Donna McRae (psychological horror)
In this of-the-moment film, a young woman travels to an isolated house in the forest to wait for her sister. They have worked out a risky scheme for their future and all she needs to do is sit it out. However a sinister presence may have something different in mind.
Streaming on Prime Video.
Films we’re looking forward to watching:
The Drover’s Wife: the Legend of Molly Johnson by Leah Purcell (thriller)
On a remote homestead in the Snowy Mountains, a heavily pregnant Molly Johnson tries to run the family farm while her husband is away droving cattle. But when Yadaka, an Aboriginal man on the run from white law enforcement, intrudes on her sanctuary, they are both forced to confront the tragedies and secrets in their pasts.
In cinemas 5 May 2022.
Run Rabbit Run by Daina Reid - (horror thriller)
A modern-day ghost story following a fertility doctor whose firm belief in life and death is challenged, as her young daughter begins to display increasingly strange behaviour. Written by novelist Hannah Kent and directed by Daina Reid, known for The Handmaid’s Tale.
Currently in post production.