Critic Reviews



Based on 14 critic reviews provided by
Slant Magazine
The film's vision of masculine self-sufficiency is built around--and on, via Australia's own bloody colonial history--an elemental violence.
Wake in Fright is the closest a movie can get to a primal scream.
As unpleasant as so many of its going-on are, Wake in Fright works both as an early instance of "Ozploitation" cinema and as a harsh critique of Australian colonialism and the absurdity of trying to bring so-called civilization to this vast arid wilderness.
It's simultaneously terrifying and hilarious, a full-on shotgun blast to the face of rediscovered 1970s weirdness, something like finding out that there's a classic Peckinpah film you've never seen, or that Wes Craven and Bernardo Bertolucci got drunk in Sydney one weekend and decided to make a movie together.
As a strictly psychological portrait of destructive masculinity it's a gut-sock, vividly photographed, thrillingly edited and marked by performances (Donald Pleasence and Jack Thompson, most notably) that heave with strange complexity and dark camaraderie.Wake in Fright is true horror.
Definitely not for the squeamish, Wake in Fright is calibrated for maximum psychic impact. Its madness is viral and disconcerting. Truly, you're going to want a stiff drink and a hot shower, or a noose, after visiting the Yabba.
Wake in Fright is a monster movie, and the monster is us.
Push any guy long enough with alcohol and aggressive masculinity, the film suggests, and you'll find an XY-chromosomed predator lurking behind the mask.
The Hollywood Reporter
The picture is fresh and frightening, a strong arthouse contender certain to leave audiences talking.
Village Voice
A road movie using undeveloped land as a blank screen on which to project a dark deconstruction of masculinity and manifest destiny.

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