I’ve seen some horrifying crap in the Amazon Prime Dungeon, but I’m not giving up. Not when there’s cheesy Bigfoot Attack movies that are begging to be watched. I know, I know, Swamp Ape probably scarred me for life, but Throwback is an Australian Bigfoot Attack Movie.
The first thing that pops out at me is that the title absolutely sucks, but what are you going to do? When the monster that’s stalking the protagonists is called a Yowie, your choice of non-embarrassing titles is limited. “Night of the Yowie”, “Curse of the Yowie,” “Oops, I Stubbed My Toe and Got a Yowie.” See what I mean? Even something awesome sounding like “Blood Rage of the Yowie” just doesn’t cut the mustard.
So what we have here is some Oz Ploitation. And sadly we’re back in the land of “shot on video” quality cinematography, some dude in a gorilla costume, and way too much wandering aimlessly in the woods. But this one has Vernon Wells in it. So there’s that. Yes, Commando and Road Warrior’s legendary Vernon Wells will appear in your uncle’s no-budget Yowie Attack movie, as long as there’s film in your camera, the beer is plentiful, and his scenes can be knocked out in one afternoon.
We open in 1860’s Australia, to justify the title. A Chinese gold miner finds some gold, but he’s robbed at gunpoint by an Aussie desperado. But then that guy is robbed by an even more famous Desperado. In quick order, the Chinese miner is eaten off-screen. Then they borrow the old joke where the one hiker says to the other, “You think you can outrun a bear?” and the other hiker quips, “No, I just have to outrun you.” Except that the Yowie still catches up to him, and he stupidly stands and screams instead of continuing to run. You were getting away, dude. There’s no way that guy in a Yowie Suit was going to catch you without tricky editing.
After the opening credits, we’re in modern Australia where two decidedly non-Indiana Joneses are looking for treasure in the jungle. The Good Treasure Robber is named Jack, and the guy in the Hawaiian shirt is Kent. They discover a cave and bam, smash cut, suddenly they’re running through the jungle. I thought I missed something, so I hit rewind. But nope, the movie just skips ahead and the two guys are chasing each other with guns.
So then Kent is threatened by a hairy paw in a tree. He wastes all of his bullets shooting at it. Well, not all the bullets, as he seems to have an endless supply to waste and never reloads. Then there’s a female Park Ranger tromping around in the trees and she’s jump-scared by a hand on her shoulder. It’s one of the treasure hunters, of course, because where are you going to find a ninth actor to be in your movie, not counting the guy in the Yowie suit? He tells her the story of what happened three minutes ago when the two guys found the treasure. Low-budget filmmaking cliche #47, needlessly complex story structure. Check.
It seems that Kent goes all Sméagol on Jack and tries to drown him, but he’s distracted by the Yowie and forgets the treasure. So Jack grabs the sack of gold and escapes, and that catches us up to the story.
Then Jack gets the funniest line in the movie. As Kent is walking towards them with a gun, Jack declares, “We have about three seconds before he sees us. You need to call someone, quick.” Which takes about 10 seconds to say. Then the Yowie appears again, there’s a scuffle, and Jack and the Park Ranger run off.
Kent hides in a notch between two trees and gets menaced by the hairy paw. The movie cheekily never shows us the monster’s face, most likely due to budgetary embarrassment. Kent stabs the paw with the world’s wussiest one-inch knife. Then they do that bad horror movie thing where the giant monster suddenly disappears. There’s a real long pause, then just when you think the monster’s gone he suddenly reappears, but it’s never scary. Nope, still not scary.
I was hoping Kent was turned into Yowie Chow, but no. The Yowie is TERRIBLE at killing people, so Kent’s still alive, and then Vernon Wells dressed in a Yowie-looking jungle camouflage suit steps out from behind a tree. Vernon slowly and carefully explains what a Yowie is. Yeah, yeah, Australian Bigfoot, I got it. Now let’s get on with the movie.
Jack and the Park Ranger are threatened by the Yowie. They shoot at it and run across the river. Yowies are apparently afraid of the water. Good to know if you are ever threatened by a Yowie. Vernon gets some grumpy old man lines that someone other than me thought were hysterical. “Smart phone, my ass,” he swears when the phone can’t get reception. Then Vernon comes upon a Yowie by the river and, because he’s an old man, takes a year and a half to take a picture of it. And right before he can get the picture, his phone rings… and that’s the only intentional laugh in the movie. Vernon’s head is ripped off, off-camera, of course, and there’s the requisite squirt of ketchup.
With only 9 actors in the cast, and three of them dead before the credits roll, there’s a lot of wandering in the woods, threatening each other with guns, and having stupid conversations. And in the biggest low-budget failing, the majority of the movie takes place in broad daylight. It’s really hard to be the least bit scary in broad daylight when your monster looks like a guy in a fluffy carpet.
Throwback is slightly better than some of the Amazon Prime crap I’ve watched lately. It’s never as funny as it thinks it is, has pretty generic action, then starts to get nasty as everyone gets horrible leg wounds, just to slow down the labored pace lest the movie starts to get too exciting. But to the filmmakers’ credit, there were some entertaining moments and enough creative flourishes to keep me interested despite its super low budget. If you’re a Bigfoot Attack movie completist like I am, you’ll probably want to check it out. The filmmakers’ next movie threatens to have even more Vernon Wells in it.