Wilderness (2006) Poster

(I) (2006)

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An effective thriller.
Skutter-21 April 2007
Wilderness is an effective and brutal thriller/horror movie. The premise is straight forward- a group of juvenile offenders and their keeper out on a camping trip are picked off one by one by a mysterious and ruthless killer with a crossbow a pack of attack dogs and a skill for booby traps. It is brutal, violent, fast moving and visceral. It is quite well made- the tension and pace never drops, which is essential for this kind of movie and there is a gritty, unremitting feel to the movie which works in its favour. The deaths are unpleasant and violent and the characters aren't likable keeping it somewhat unpredictable as to what is going to happen, who is going to die and so on. Wilderness doesn't hold back in terms of the violence and nastiness but still keeps, for the most part a gritty realistic vibe and it works.

The movie shows you don't necessarily need likable characters but only believable ones to make a movie work. The more likable characters are only more likable by comparison i.e. they are only cowardly or selfish as opposed to being sadistic and cruel. The one character that seems like they may actually be competent and a decent human being is out of the picture comparatively early on. This comes across as lot more credible than those movies which contain groups of supposedly hardened criminals or delinquents who prove to be suitably heroic and noble and band together when it comes to the crunch. The characters here aren't over the top nasty either- they are full of petty meanness and posturing, selfishness and banality without being irredeemably evil as you would probably expect such kids to be in real life. The acting, mostly by fairly unknown young British actors is pretty good and low key- the Brits are generally better at this sort of thing. This gives the film its grittier edge and helps make it a little bit less predictable than it could be. Okay, the designated hero is obvious from the get-go and it isn't too unexpected when most of the unsavoury cast is wiped out but it isn't cloyingly obvious all the way through that things will happened the way you would predict in accordance with movie conventions.

The movie is not without flaws. The plot isn't always particularly believable or fresh. It seems strange that there is on one prison guard with this group of about ten juvenile offenders out on a supposedly deserted island and the killer seems almost too effective is dispatching his prey although to be fair it works for the movie in terms of the scariness of the villain and some explanation is provided for his skill in this regard. Toward the end when the hunter and his motivation is revealed he is far less effective a bad guy, his motivation and presence slightly contrived (Though still plausible) and he suddenly seems to become a lot less competent in order for him to be defeated. It might have been better if the makers had left the killer a mysterious motiveless figure. There are a few times when the movie does seem to go a bit too far with its nastiness, the flip side of the movie slack of restraint. The way in which some of the gorier death scenes, such as the first dog killing, are lingered on is a bit too much and toward the end some of the character's abhorrent behaviour comes across as a bit much also (Okay we already knew these guys were scum, can we get on with it).

On the whole a slick, well made and exciting movie which is both helped and hampered, but mostly helped, by it's willingness to be mean spirited and harsh.
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Had a movie, but lost it!
causeiwantto200126 July 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I started watching this film, and did what I was suppose to, develop a like or dislike for characters. The story appeared to begin with the bully's, and the bullied. The final twist was predictable, but the characters didn't develop the way they were suppose to. In the end there was one character I wanted to root for, but then they killed him. The line between good and evil was no existent, and the film didn't have the 'all is well in the end' ending. The movie was about justice, but the film served none! It had a lot of potential, and usually, when I watch a movie from the UK Im not disappointed, but this movie left me wanting to re shoot the film myself. Which says, that it was interesting enough to spend time on, but wasn't shot properly, and without that bond that exists between the goer, and a character. To bad it was released in this state! Could have been fantastic!
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Welcome to the Wildnerness; we got fun & games!
Coventry20 March 2006
Call us uncivilized savages if you must, but who honestly doesn't enjoy raw and barbaric adventure-movies in which the blood and violence literally bursts from the screen? In case you were thrilled by movies like "Battle Royale", "Blood Camp Thatcher" or even the more classic milestone "The Most Dangerous Game", you simply have to see "Wilderness"; a brand new British survival-horror effort directed by Michael "Deathwatch" Basset. After the suicide of a fellow inmate, a troop of juvenile delinquents – for whom all hope for rehabilitation was given up long time ago – are sent to a prison island for a severe lesson in elementary life-values. On the island, however, a mad-raving psychopath lies in wait for them and even the innocent guards and some random girls become defenseless targets. Trained and equipped like an experienced hunter, the killer annihilates nearly the whole gang by using deadly booby-traps and ravenous dogs. As you can derive from this brief plot description, originality isn't "Wilderness" biggest trump and the script doesn't even bother to keep the killer's identity secret for a long time. But seriously, who cares about aspects like these when a film is so adrenalin rushing and blood-soaked? The "hunting humans"-premise is mixed with the textbook 80's slasher plot of a revenge-seeking killer, but you aren't given a chance to grumble about the banality, as there is gore and excitement everywhere! The island itself is a captivating location, resulting in masterfully choreographed sequences and some utterly imaginative booby-traps. Unlike in his previous film "Deathwatch", Michael J. Basset definitely doesn't cut back on the blood & gore here, and we're gladdened with close-up shotgun action, amputated body parts, chopped of heads and loads of aggressive dog-action! The character drawings are very well processed and Basset fully uses the nihilistic and totally lackadaisical nature of youthful criminals. These young social outcasts don't care about anyone but themselves and pretty soon there are sub plots involving betrayal, jealousy and cowardly behavior. The sound & visual effects are terrific and Peter Robertson clearly has a talented eye for versatile camera-work. Following films like "Dog Soldiers", "28 Days Later…" and "The Descent", this "Wilderness" is yet another piece of evidence that the British horror industry is working on a remarkable revival nowadays. Highly recommended!
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Ther ain't no fair fight in the Wilderness. A brutal survival n revenge thriller.
Fella_shibby21 October 2019
This film was on my radar for more than a decade. Saw this recently. It is a bloody n brutal take on the revenge n survival saga. Young offenders r sent to an isolated island for disciplinary method. The locations r picturesque but the plot has many flaws. Ignore the flaws n u get a bloody good time. There are ferocious dogs n the maulings r frighteningly gory. Ther is also a very innovative immolation scene, few stabbings n axe chopping the shoulder scene. Now I came to kno that Adam Green got the body slicing axe scene in Hatchet 1 from this film. Some may crib that the killer's identity is revealed very early. Inspite of the director being new n the budget not that great, the film is a solid thriller n the best part is the entire film is shot in broad daylight n ther r no pov or shaky cam stuff. I enjoyed this film after 13 years of its release, imagine the impact the film wud have done 13 yrs back. I have liked M.J. Bassett's Deathwatch but found his Silent Hill 2 n Solomon Kane dull.

Obviously films like Deliverance, Southern Comfort, Rituals aka Creeper, Just Before Dawn, The Most Dangerous Game, etc. may come to mind.
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Director Michael J. Bassett appears to have discovered his stride
Craig_McPherson15 July 2006
Recipe: take one large dollop of Lord of the Flies, toss in a few heaping tablespoons of Southern Comfort, sprinkle with traces of Deliverance, and add The Most Dangerous Game to taste. Blend on high for 110 minutes and presto, you've got a tasty treat of Wilderness, the new survival thriller by Director Michael J. Bassett.

Set on a remote uninhabited island used by Britain's correctional services as a retreat for troubled youth, the movie tells the story of a group of juvenile criminals who get sent to the remote location only to find themselves being stalked by a trained killer bent on revenge.

Screened at the 2006 edition of Montreal's Fantasia Film Festival, the movie doesn't make much effort to conceal the identity of the stalker. In fact, most viewers can figure this out in the first 15 minutes. However keeping secrets isn't what this story is about. Rather, it's about the thrill of hunting humans, the most sophisticated predator on the planet, and the diverse and innovative tricks involved.

Featuring Sean Pertwee, who seems to own a clause in British movie contracts saying he will appear in every UK thriller/horror film under production, the film showcases the talents of a young cast of unknowns who, while not demanded of Shakespearean performances, nonetheless turn in flawless performances to round out the movie.

Bassett, whose previous directorial debut was 2002's intriguing but flawed Deathwatch, seems to have found his stride with this effort. Scenes appear carefully thought out and executed, with a nice attention to detail. He clearly understands how to pace a film of this nature, and what works and what doesn't in what clearly was a demanding shoot involving attack dogs, forest chases, fires and numerous stunts.

The movie has something for every fan of the genre; beheadings, vicious forest traps, maulings, being eaten alive, crossbows, knife fights, skinheads, near drownings, the list goes on.

Viewers can add this to the ever growing list of British horror films such as The Descent, Dog Soldiers, and 28 Days Later (to name only a few) that are currently setting the world standard for delivering quality cinematic chills and thrills.
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Excellent premise, could have been executed better
parmenae16 August 2006
I enjoyed this movie for the most part, but thought the writing/dialog was a little weak at points. I honestly think one of the cheesiest moments in movie history was in this particular movie when the guy offered up a hunk of fresh cooked dog meat to his girl.. and she hugged him gleefully...

But anyways, the idea of the movie was pretty cool and I enjoyed the beginning and how they ended up on the island. In the tradition of No Escape and Battle Royale, this is a great addition to the 'island survival' genre but is by no means a stand out.

Definitely give it a watch if the synopsis interests you!
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A horror movie where most of the characters are villains
Milo-Jeeder21 May 2007
I had a bad feeling about this movie during the first minutes, even though I had read the plot before. It seemed like a gloomy drama about the life of a bunch of young prisoners, that would end up having almost no room for horror whatsoever. I feared that "Wilderness" would turn out to be one of those films that frantically try to give a lesson about life or something like that. Appealing as that may sound, it didn't look much like a horror movie to me at first and I was very close to leave it unfinished during the first minutes. Fortunately, I was patient enough to realize that I had a pleasant surprise ahead of me, when all of a sudden, the locations changed and the circumstances became far more dangerous than they are inside a prison. So for those of you who think this is probably a movie with a profound message and a big amount of drama, sorry to disappoint you, but this is more than anything a flick meant to be enjoyed by gore lovers.

In "Wilderness", a bunch of violent prisoners are sent to an isolated island, after one of the interns commit suicide. It appears that the young cell-mate, whose name was David, felt forced to take his own life, due to the constant, aggressive harassment that he used to suffer from his fellow inmates. The idea for the educational little trip, is to build some self-respect and learn a few things about the values of life, with the object of achieving a better relationship with the others. However, these nasty young rascals won't hesitate to show their true colors as soon as they disembark and they even have the pleasure of coming across a bunch of pretty female convicts from a different group. The whole point of the trip gets quickly forgotten, but a new lesson regarding survival is what the inmates are forced to learn, when the figure of a mysterious hunter appears out of nowhere and starts to chase them for no evident reason.

Essentially, "Wilderness" is a movie that is probably not meant to be taken very seriously. It is on the whole an entertaining gore fest with some of the most enjoyable and brutal scenes that can be compared to "Battle Royale", "Wrong Turn", "Friday the 13th" and "Il Camping del Terrore" by Ruggero Deodato (although many people would probably disagree with that). Nevertheless, in the end, it manages to achieve its own dazzling and yet simple denouement, where the mysterious surroundings is revealed in a very simplistic and crude way. The filming location is pretty much one of the highest points of the film. The idea of a killer running wild in an isolated island full of enormous trees and bushes, pretty much creates this unsettling atmosphere of being actually locked up, and the characters somehow appear in real danger for the first time. This is rather ironic, considering that the film takes place in jail during the first minutes. With nothing else to add, I highly recommend this film to anyone who is in the mood for amputation, narrows, bear-traps, fire and wild dogs on the loose.
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A British version of Deliverance?
maatmouse-112 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
The British film industry used to boast some of the best horror films ever made, with the possible exception of the Exorcist. We had our own home grown business with such films as The Wickerman, various Hammer House of horror films and movies such as Straw Dogs (shot in the UK). Then things went very quiet and it seemed as if the British had given up making damn good horror.

Wilderness has come out of the UK film industry's attempts to go back to the good old days of believable horror pictures. Firstly, you had 28 days later, Dog Soldiers, The Last Great Wilderness and most recently, The Descent. All are incredibly interesting movies showing a rare inventiveness in horror film direction, usually despite a tiny budget. The British have shown that horror does not need a rack of special effects to make it creepy, it just needs a simple plot line and a villain you don't see until the last few frames.

In Wilderness, you don't get much simpler than that. Take a group of male young offenders and their guardian and put them on a remote Scottish or Irish island, then add the mcguffin of an old hippy tramp, finally add some female young offenders then add the real villain of the piece and some hunter dogs. Now start killing off the key film characters with a variety of nasty, bloody methods and moments and then add some mutiny and a little of the untamed male 'hunter' mentality and you have a film which 'tried' to be something fascinating.

Wilderness suffers, in my opinion, from 2 things. The twin curses of poor dialogue and there being no real sense of danger. The people are not really marooned on this island, they have some means of getting off it - hence no real sense of desperation which a film like this sorely needed. This is a real pity. The director had the makings of a serious horror movie - a kind of Lord of the Flies meets Deliverance with little bits of First Blood Part 1 thrown in (some nasty traps) and hints of Predator (not really seeing the hunter until the last few minutes). I hope, though that the Director of this will make other horror films. it all looks like its going in the right direction and the more good horror movies out there, the better.
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Suspenseful modern horror
The_Void30 October 2006
Wilderness isn't a great modern horror film, but it does a good job of taking old ideas and rehashing them into a fresh and exciting plot line. The influences to the film are clear, with the much-copied classic 'The Most Dangerous Game' being fused with more modern films such as 'Battle Royale'. The basic plot line isn't too far removed from your common slasher film, but director Michael J. Bassett gives him film an extra edge by putting the focus on the struggle as the protagonists battle with the wilderness (naturally), the main threat and even each other. The plot focuses on a group of juvenile delinquents who are sent to an uninhabited island when a young lad staying in their home is found to have committed suicide. However, the island doesn't turn out to be uninhabited at all, as aside from a local hermit; there's also a group of girls there with the same idea - and some mad psycho with a crossbow and a group of bloodthirsty German Shepherds, who is seemingly hell bent on not letting any of them off the island alive!

The director seems more bothered about atmosphere and tension than characters; as while some of the people inhabiting the film are well defined, their actions are often questionable and none of them are particularly interesting. But even so, this isn't a problem; as the film is constantly suspenseful and the fact that there is an unseen psycho in the woods bodes well with the atmosphere on display. Michael J. Bassett seems keen to go against the clichés of the horror genre, as there is no mystery to the killer's identity after the first half of the film and the crossbow weapon works well. There's a fair amount of gore on display, although the film never matches the initial death sequence in the wilderness in terms of gore. The acting isn't terrible, but the 'thick' British accents sound really phoney to an actual Brit like me. Sean Pertwee is the only recognised name on the cast list, but the rest of the cast; which is made up of mostly British television stars, provide adequate performances. Overall, Wilderness is certainly a good horror film and comes recommended.
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A poorly thought out British survivalist horror movie.
BA_Harrison10 May 2007
A bunch of teenage delinquents are taken to a remote British island in order to 'build character', but are picked off by an unseen assailant in a variety of gruesome ways.

Wilderness, a violent British made survivalist horror, is another clunker from director Michael J. Bassett, the man who gave us the decidedly lame WW1 chiller Deathwatch. Once again, Bassett presents us with another poorly thought out movie saddled with a ridiculous conceit, a poor cast (when Sean Pertwee is the best actor on the bill, something is definitely up), and a very bad script.

Even if a large picturesque island paradise off the coast of the UK actually existed, the idea that it could possibly remain totally uninhabited is unbelievably daft. The thought that it would be reserved solely for the use of correctional facilities is absurd. And the notion that a group of violent offenders would be taken to said island accompanied by a single supervisor is totally moronic.

And with the majority of the movie's characters being juvenile scumbags and unlikable thugs, it is impossible to feel any sympathy for most of those who die. In fact, I was quite happy to see these miserable excuses for human beings get their comeuppance.

In an attempt to distract his audience from all of these shortcomings, Bassett piles on the gore, with maulings by savage dogs, crossbow attacks, dismemberment and immolation. But even a high level of impressively realistic bloodletting doesn't stop one from noticing that the film is basically a bit of a stinker.
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Unbelievably entertaining and messy genre entry
vagrantfilms16 July 2006
I'm rather surprised at some of the negative comments posted here about the film. I just got back from Montreal where the film just had it stellar North American premiere at the always incredible Fantasia festival, one that packs in the very best from around the globe, and Wilderness does not disappoint. I totally bought into this film. Its chock full of jumps, great kills, and really awesome amounts of gore. This is a total horror and genre geek must see! Its an amped up, highly charged popcorn movie with a damn great young cast. If Lions Gate or someone does not pick this up, they are bloody insane!! This is film gets me really charged up for the next Michael J. Bassett offering.
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The Brits show how the teen slasher flick is done
MBunge20 August 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Wilderness shows us that just because you're making a film about a bunch of teenagers in the woods getting killed…it doesn't have to suck. There's nothing particularly fancy about this movie, but it's reasonably smart, sufficiently gory, thankfully unpretentious and refreshingly unself-aware .

The story concerns a group of boys in a juvenile detention facility in Great Britain. When one of their bunkmates is bullied into committing suicide, the head guard is assigned to take the teen convicts to a remote island for a character building exercise. While on the island, they make two discoveries. One is that a female head guard and two girl convicts are on the island for the same reason as the boys. The second is that someone is out to murder them all. It really is that nakedly formulaic, but these filmmakers take the time and effort to execute the formula as well as they can. The result is a fairly entertaining teen slasher flick. Well, it's really more of a teen skewering flick but if that's what you enjoy, you'll like Wilderness.

Now, there's not any more depth to this film than your average kids-getting-killed movie and it's not making any wry observations about the genre or trying to be ironic or anything like that. It just wants to be a nice little horror flick. There's plenty of running and screaming and a few legitimately shocking scenes. There's even some furtive sex, but without any nudity. That's probably the only teen slasher cliché that isn't featured and professionally pulled off.

The acid tests for this kind of script is…"How stupid do the characters have to be in order to get killed?" and "How over-the-top ridiculous is the murderer's ability to kill them?" When people who should be running away in fear always stop and look in that dark room or always fall and sprain their ankle fleeing from the killer or when the killer can punch through a wall with his bare hand or get stabbed and shot but just shake it off, those are the signs of a bad script. Wilderness avoids almost all of those flaws, except for an ending where the previously very smart, skilled and tough murderer suddenly become a stupid wuss. Oh, well. Nobody's perfect.

Acting-wise, everyone in the cast gives fine performances. Granted, the roles are all broadly and obviously drawn but Stephen Wright and Luke Neal create a believable co-dependent relationship as two bullies and Karly Greene as the girl who comes between them gets to show her character is just as cruel and selfish as the two boys. Sean Pertwee and Alex Reid as the male and female guards also engage in a cute "who's got bigger balls" stare down.

If there's any problem with this film it's that the only characters who even remotely resemble good guys are disposed of early on, and the ones that are left are either ciphers you have no reason to care about or bad people who, to some extent, deserve what they're getting. It's also a little odd that the ones who survive are probably the least interesting characters in the story.

If you don't like teen slasher films, there's nothing special here to bother with. If you do enjoy that genre and would like to be reminded what good one looks and feels like, go rent Wilderness.
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Despite uneven plot and characters, this "Wilderness" is still worth getting lost in
dee.reid8 August 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Well, I can honestly say that the UK horror film "Wilderness," directed with some feverish intensity by Michael J. Bassett, follows on the heels of another great British-made horror film, Neil Marshall's acclaimed "The Descent" (2005). "Wilderness" has the same intensity, attention to story and characters, and propensity for gruesome special effects and gore that leave little to the viewer's imagination.

I actually have no doubt in my mind that Bassett was in some way influenced by "The Descent" - my personal favorite horror movie so far this millennium - especially with its outdoors setting and a mindless killer chasing after tough, non-stereotypical young people. But what gets "Wilderness" points here is that it's while it's billed as a horror film, it's actually more along the lines of a gruesome adventure-thriller with some slasher movie elements thrown into the story for good measure - think the classic short story "The Most Dangerous Game" by Richard Connell combined with "Deliverance" (1972), "Predator" (1987), the Japanese Manga series "Battle Royale" and any slasher movie about a revenge-seeking serial killer you could think of, and you get "Wilderness."

Where "Wilderness" differs from "The Descent," aside from setting and characters, is that the film's "protagonists" aren't really protagonists. The film's main characters are a motley group of six juvenile delinquents, many of them violent offenders. How violent, you say? Well, one, Steve (Stephen Wright), is a violent, manipulative neo-Nazi skinhead sociopath, and his pal Lewis (Luke Neal), also a neo-Nazi skinhead, follows his every command. Another, Blue (Adam Deacon), is a rapist. Of course, there's also a weakling in the group, a sexual deviant named Lindsay (Ben McKay), who also gets bullied a lot by Steve and Lewis. Jethro (Richie Campbell) is the only black member of the group. And the newest member of this wholesome crew of violent youths is Callum (Toby Kebbell), a young man prone to uncontrolled bursts of anger and violence who is there because he committed a brutal murder.

So, after one of them commits suicide in his bunk, the whole group is shipped off to a nearby island, where their supervisor Jed (Sean Pertwee, of Marshall's "Dog Soldiers") will hopefully teach these boys some dignity and respect through a little bit of hard labor in the forests of the UK. It turns out that they're not alone on this island, since Louise (Alex Reid, of Marshall's "The Descent"), also a juvenile corrections officer, has the same idea and is camped out there with her two young female charges Mandy (Lenora Crichlow) and Jo (Karly Greene). Soon enough, however, both groups come to realize that they are not alone on this island either, and that someone or something is hunting them down one at a time (and that maybe one of them is not who he/she appears to be either), and it soon becomes clear that the only thing that matters is survival, and getting off the island alive and in one piece, or die trying...

Let me just say that "Wilderness" is most definitely not a movie for children. The fact that every time I've seen it on television late at night is proof of that. True to most horror films of late, "Wilderness" is extremely and ferociously (and sadistically) violent. But the gore is contrasted against a rather thrilling backdrop, cool story, and intriguing characters who don't deserve our sympathy, but somehow we hope that some - some is italicized - make it out alive and in one piece. Eventually, however, what the story boils down to is a case where the hunter becomes the hunted, and the characters are able to turn the tables on their hunters (if you've read Richard Connell's original short story or you've seen "Predator" for the hundredth time like I have, then you know what I mean).

This turning of the tables on the antagonist can be a little bit hard to swallow, considering how it comes about and who it is that actually does the table-turning. This sudden change-of-character for one of the main characters is unexpected because none of them are really that well-developed to begin with, so the change seems a little bit forced and tends to cheapen what up until then has been a rather shocking, gripping, and steady-going thriller. There's also some cheeky teen romance-type stuff going on in here, too, which also seems a little bit forced and a little cheesy considering the film's atmosphere and elaborate setup.

Lastly, there's also some ill feelings geared toward the film's ending, which is rather ambiguously optimistic. Strange, I know, but just see it to understand what I mean, and make up your mind about whether or not it ruins your late-night fun.

"Wilderness" is a great movie, with an interesting premise that stayed my interest a little bit by forcing us to root for under-developed characters and believe some rather stupid actions on their part. But the set-up, chase/action scenes, and gruesome special effects make this a particularly uneasy and gripping adventure-horror/thriller.

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boyinflares25 December 2006
"Wilderness" is a fantastic film about several teens struggle for survival as they are hunted down by a at-first mysterious killer on a remote island where they have been taken to lean a different kind of lesson. You see, these teens are a group of young inmates at a prison / detention center for young offenders and after one of their cell-mates is found dead, their warden is forced to take them to this island to learn a thing or too. Instead, they end up fighting for their lives.

On the island though, the boys run into 2 girls and their own warden from another detention center. Neither of the two wardens are very happy about each other's group being there, but when one of the boys is found dead, they band together to fight for survival. Naturally, the two wardens are taken out by the killer first, so the kids, despite many of them disliking each other, constantly backstabbing each other and trying to out-do one another, must find a way to work together to stay alive.

"Wilderness" is a terrific premise, with an amazing sense of realism to it. The acting is fantastic, particularly from Toby Kebbell (Callum), Stephen Wight (Steve), Lenora Crichlow (Mandy) and Alex Reid (Louise). The deaths happen at appropriate times, and yes, they are gruesome and sometimes disturbing. The killer also has a pack of crazed dogs which he terrorises the teens with. It becomes obvious to both the teens and the audience who killer is, what his motif is, a standard fare in horror movies.

"Wilderness" is gripping and fast paced. I was glued to the screen for the entire film following the teens, working out who was trying to deceive who, and delving into the complex relationships with each other. The only disappointing part, which is quite minor, is that although the warden mentions what the kids are in prison for, you don't know who is in for what. The teens that survived are the ones that should have in my opinion.

Overall, a highly recommended horror which is fast paced, full of unusual characters, nasty deaths and a true struggle for survival.
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Woof woof.
hitchcockthelegend9 August 2010
Wilderness is directed by Michael J. Bassett and written by Dario Poloni. It stars Sean Pertwee, Alex Reid, Toby Kebbell, Karly Greene, Stephen Wight & Lenora Crichlow.

After the suicide of one of their inmates at a British male young offender institution, a group of teenage offenders and their prison officer, are sent to a remote island for outdoor rehabilitation. Once there, tho, they find that they are not alone as two young female offenders and their officer are also using the island for the same purpose. A battle of the sexes is the least of their collective worries, however, because someone is stalking them. With only one thing on their mind; to kill them all.

Chances are that if you pull ten reviews off of the internet for Wilderness you will find in most of them references to Scum, Dog Soldiers, Battle Royale and Deliverance. Which while it comes across as lazy pigeon-holing, is a fair enough point to make. However, Wilderness, while not being as good as any of those film's, deserves to be allowed to stand on its own two feet with survivalist heart proudly beating in its chest. Yes the story is a touch derivative, but Bassett's film is pleasingly nasty and serves the gore hounds well. After the set up introduces us to the inmates of this wing of Moorgate Prison, where the moody Callum (Kebbell) walks into a den of bullying and suicide, it's clear that these are not characters we are meant to like. This collective bunch consists of robbers, murderers and sex offenders. As a group of people they are as unlikable as it gets, this works a treat once we get to the island and things start to go belly up as they come under attack from an unseen assailant and start to turn on each other in the process. Who do you root for? Eh? Exactly.

With the characters' struggle to bond together to survive, we have the reason why Wilderness should be fairly judged on its own terms. Leaving aside for the moment that it contains inventive and grisly deaths, that it thrusts these young hot-headed adults into a Lord of the Fliesian (there's another one for you) type situation makes for a fascinating watch. Particularly as the sense of dread that lands on the island with the protagonists never leaves the film. There's also a wry observational arc on the British institutional system, we may be ducking from crossbow bolts and snarling German Shephard's, but Bassett and his team are not just about the blood. No sir. Even as Poloni's misanthropic script starts to bite hard, there's still some humour to be found, while Alex Reid's (underused but making a telling mark) tough female ex-soldier is the smartest character in the film. To call this a blood for bloods sake movie like some critics have is just unfair, since some thought has gone into making it exactly not that.

Bassett considerably improves from his debut horror picture, Deathwatch. But Wilderness does have problems to stop it from being a top tier British horror. There's bad decisions made with a couple of the most interesting characters and the reveal of the killer is far too soon. There's also some pacing problems that are further highlighted by some of the average acting from the lesser principals left to carry the story. However, steering us away from dwelling too long on the young bucks caught in the headlights is Kebbell, who oozes charisma as Callum, the character is in truth not fully formed (his moody past is only briefly touched upon), but Kebbell plays him smart yet dangerously feral; a leader in waiting indeed. But it's Wight's turn as a bullyboy Nazi that runs away with the film. He's as dangerous as the person hunting them down, the last person you would want to have to rely upon in a crisis. He is a vile and nasty piece of work that Bassett enjoys playing the audience's sympathies with.

At times brutal and even unforgiving as a human interest piece, Wilderness is a far better survivalist horror than some would have you believe. 7/10
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Happy Hunting… and good riddance.
lost-in-limbo13 October 2007
After a fellow inmate commits suicide due to the constant bullying and turning a blind eye of his fellow inmates. The young group are shipped off to a deserted island, to build character and bond. However they're not alone and someone with a crossbow and a pack of dogs begin to hunt them down.

Woodland horror. I love this sub-genre. However this particular British item builds an interesting story to only fumble it with half-baked revelations, obnoxious characters and splintered direction. The survival trek is filled with blood soaked surprises, jarring jolts, and a notorious mean streak. Yippy! Yeah some of the wicked deaths are ferocious, but it did become a bit boring. When director Michael J Bassett gets hot under the collar (after slowly milking it out to begin with), he engineers taut and breakneck tension to only let the lean story be navigated by implausible and contrived staples that eventually go on to cement a numbing and uneven pattern. The unmasking of the killer is flat (though its no surprise, and it never is because we find out just after it all begins), and the confrontation comes off lousy and underdone. The characters don't break away from their underwritten, clichéd persona's. They do become a sorry, and tiring bunch that you couldn't care less about. Sure they're not meant to be likable, but hell they really irritated me. But I guess that was the perfect mould though. The story stays firm and simple, going out hard. I have mixed emotions about it, but this is more towards its timing and pushy developments, and how it eventually went about trying to cover its lack of atmosphere with rapid, uncertain movements and bloated shocks. I thought the setting could've been implemented better. Peter J Robertson's professional camera-work gets some nice shots, and his location framing and adventurous style works off fine. The music by Mark Thomas features a foreboding sting. The performances are by the books. Sean Pertwee sits back, Alex Reid gives all her will to the part and Toby Kebbell neurotically goes through the motions. Stephen Wight is probably the pick of the lot as the seething bully skinhead.
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Bloody survival horror.
HumanoidOfFlesh13 November 2007
Sean Pertwee stars as Jed,a warden at a Young Offenders' Institute,who's assigned to take a group of dangerous inmates to a deserted island for an Outward Bound course after one of their dorm-mate commits suicide because of vicious bullying.Things look up when the group runs into a couple of girls but it isn't long before their numbers start rapidly diminishing,thanks to an unseen assailant intent on picking them off one by one.This insanely bloody survival horror is truly exciting and well-made.The characters are well-developed and some of the gory deaths are suitably shocking.The biggest problem with Wilderness is that it kills off its most likable characters too early on and the ostensible lead is underwritten so it's hard to really care about him.Still if you like survivalist horror cinema give this one a chance.
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Intense and gory yet unoriginal and unbelievable
rob_52719 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
***POSSIBLE SPOILERS THROUGHOUT*** This film begins interestingly, following the story of a new inmate at a harsh boys institute and how difficult he finds it to settle in. Soon the inmates go on a excursion to an abandoned island to do some training. They soon realise that they're not alone and there's actually a group of females on the island who are also on an excursion. Anger grows between the opposing excursion leaders and they agree to keep their groups at distance.

Testosterone fuelled male inmates can't help but make advances to the opposing female camp. When advances are rejected a dead body is found not long after. The girls obviously think it was the males yet they soon realise, when a male inmate gets killed, that there's some other threat on the island.

This film shamelessly takes ideas from "the lord of the flies" and poses the question of "what are people capable of when there's no law to abide by?" A certain sci-fi quality is added to the film when a pack of dogs are introduced and begin killing at their master's command.

The film is well acted out by young and talented British actors and delivers some brutal and jumpy sequences. Worth a look but not overly impressive.
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Load of Rubbish
tjtrickrider3 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This was a crappy copy of Dog Soldiers, without the added comedy element and the excitement of werewolves. The only good thing about it was Sean Pertwee, and he didn't last five minutes, after that I might as well have fallen asleep. Considering the makers obviously cast him to draw the crowds to the only known name in the film, he was vastly under-used and under-credited.

The unknown young actors did do a good job, so all credit to them, but the movie itself was very mediocre.

If this does better than Dog Soldiers, which in my mind should have gained far more recognition than it did, I will be extremely disappointed.
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Bloody Revenge
claudio_carvalho27 December 2008
In a juvenile detention center, the inmate Dave (John Travers) commits suicide after being abused with his friend Lindsay (Ben McKay) by the sociopath bullies Steve (Stephen Wight) and Lewis (Luke Neal) under the indifference of the other cell-mates. The governor sends them to an uninhabited island to improve their relationships and characters under the command of the tough monitor Jed (Sean Pertwee). They meet another camping with female delinquents under the command of veteran soldier Louise (Alex Reid) and they camp in another area. However, when they are attacked by a pack of dogs and a mysterious man with a cross-bow wearing camouflage, they join forces fighting to survive under the leadership of Callum (Toby Kebbell).

After a magnificent debut with "Deathwatch", the director and writer Michael J. Bassett makes another great movie, the gore "Wilderness". The original story is well-constructed, with a perfect development of characters and supported by great acting and special effects. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Os Selvagens" ("The Savages")
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A dog's meal that seems tasty but ends up regurgitated.
Cinema_Fan22 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Filmed in Northern Ireland and financed partly with the assistance of the U.K. Film Council's premiere fund and the National Lottery (U.K.), Wilderness is something of a milestone for most involved. As its Michael J. Bassett's first movie, as well as numerous cast members to boot, his first time as director feels a little tame and toothless.

This being a little prisoner movie while based on the theme of rehabilitation, where the inmates are nasty, grotesque and cheap as this movie is, regrettably, as cheap. We have for example, Richie Campell as Jethro, Lenora Crichlow as Mandy and Adam Deacon as Blue (Ali G Indahouse, 2002), all English T.V. actors and now turning their talents to the big screen. The young lady Alex Reid, as Louise has some experience with the movies with Arachnid (2001) and The Descent (2005) to her credit. The main draw here is the charismatic Sean Pertwee (Dog Soldiers, 2002), as this band of brothers guide on an uninhabited island known as The Wilderness, an old army training ground handed over to the prison service for the aid of character building, there's an irony here somewhere, and rehabilitation.

A good concept in theory but executed in the manner of amateur hour at a local movie making convention. I don't mean to sound low-spirited, I want these actors' and actresses' careers to take off, and its makers too, this is a big step into the void of movie making, while their talents might have been appreciated on the small screen here they are underpowered by the transgression to wide screen. Wilderness may have missed the boat where charisma and originality is concerned, but as a first attempt, it is an okay try. The direction is sustainable with a steady pace and at times atmosphere, but it does need more work, and with a half-decent sense of photography from Peter J. Robertson, the trees and the woods is not the place to be going at anytime if Peter J. Robertson is in charge. With the help of one Mark Thomas (Dog Soldiers, 2002), and his musical score, it can just about make it, but a good movie needs goodness from all directions too.

What has let this movie down is its terrible script (Dario Poloni), and extremely tacky dialogue that these unfortunate actors, and we too, have to suffer, at times; it reaches beyond cringing to sheer embarrassment. This is inner-city underclass and its flotsam and jetsam parodying and nothing else, and the actors here are just trying too hard to be something they are not and it shows. Was there ever a period of research for these roles or were they just thrown together with the bad, the good and the ugly? Also, too, is the predicable plot, not just the storyline but the actual plot, you can see this coming well into the first half, it's only a matter of principle to see this to the end to prove yourself right. Wilderness may have been a learning curve for all those involved, and we too have learnt that we should not judge this cover until we have seen it from the inside out.
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Predictable and Typical
Kezzizzle24 November 2006
Well, what do I say, really? This film (for me) was typical British horror. There is a lot of gore, but it all gets abit tiresome after a while....yes, you actually get sick of seeing it. I am big fan of horror movies (a very big fan in fact) and enjoy seeing gore, you know, the type that makes you feel sick and hope to god it never happens to you. And I have to admit, that this film does make you think that in some places.

But, to start with, this film sorta takes you in abit, you're following the story, wondering "whats going to happen"...so thats a good thing right? Well, the first few times you see the gore, you think "oh my god, thats gross"...then you see it again and you're like "ewww"...then you see it again and eventually, you end up just watching this gore with no reaction what-so-ever because you've seen enough of it already....and this, is a common problem with most British horror films (like 28 days later).

Some of the acting isn't brilliant either...and correct me if i'm wrong, but i got the impression this was a pretty low budget movie. You could predict pretty much everything from start to finish, and the so called "twist" at the end...is abit poor....the fact they couldn't think of anything else (but i won't spoil the 'fantastic' ending for you) If you're a fan of repetitive and predictable gore...go ahead and watch this. But if you'd rather watch a film with abit more brains...give this one a miss.
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A surprising good film that took me by surprise
bubble462910 March 2007
When i first put this movie in i expected it to be horrible. It seemed like one of those direct to DVD crapfests that I've seen. I popped it in and started watching. As this movie progressed i was taken back by the fact this movie was very good. The acting was well done, it has some exciting scenes, some were very gory. The story was compelling and I even jumps once or twice. By the end i was very pleased by this movie. Something about this movie satisfied my craving for a good slasher movie, it moves at a brisk pace and the plot is phenomenal. The characters are powerful and the acting is superb, they picked some of the best people to play the parts. This is a must see for a fan of a good slasher/murder flick.
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Bloodfest and gore
watchmanz19 September 2006
Do not watch this movie if you are looking for a message, unless that message is that revenge is sweet. Most of the movie is a bloodfest and the special effects are graphic - not something to be watched alone if you scare easily. Michael Bassett seems to have gone solely for shock value in this movie and, if he did, then he achieved his aims admirably. In fact, I cannot recall the last time I saw a movie so openly graphic in terms of dismemberment and human death. The actors are clearly not hugely experienced and this adds somewhat to the atmosphere of the film. If you seek a true horror in terms of what is portrayed on the screen then this is the movie for you, although personally I found it a little over the top.
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Back for more
p-stepien8 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
A group of bang-up young lads, whose hobbies are drug-dealing, rape, murder, psychological torture, Nazism and juvenile delinquency, go on a backpacking trip to a remote ex-army island together with their happy-go-lucky special-cases caretaker, Jed (naturally played by Sean Pertwee, the Brits sole horror star). Supposedly alone on the island they fortunately stumble upon a couple of equally nice girls, who are all too open to share the island (and their very doubtful virginity). Even more luckily it turns out that apart from them the island has it's own drunk, who loves getting beat up, as well as a murderous special ops with four blood-crazed dogs. This means the boys are in for the funnest game of their lifetime: kill or be killed.

A bit of "Lord of the Flies" with a survival thriller twist to it "Wilderness" is a surprisingly gripping experience. Much owed to the absolutely excellent cast with special kudos given out to Luke Neal and Toby Kebbell, as well as the director Michael J. Bassett, who has proved to be a remarkably capable actor's director. Both "Wilderness" and his debut "Deathwatch" (both survival horror movies) show immense talent to exerting the best out of his cast. Without a single note wrong throughout the movie you can forgive it's script inadequacies as well as some occasional sub-par cinematography.

The bones and flesh popping out here and there throughout the movie are found lacking and seem to plastic, but nonetheless the gore should satisfy the most disgusting needs. The biggest fault does however seem to lie with the ending itself - the overwhelming feeling I had was that the scriptwriter had no idea how to roll the credits and went for the obvious, if lame and abrupt outro.

Also what is it with black guys and horrors? I've had an intense horror-filled week behind me and in every single movie they are always the first to die! Really people - stop it already!
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