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The Snowtown Murders (2012)


Average Rating: 7.5/10
Reviews Counted: 65
Fresh: 54
Rotten: 11

Critics Consensus: It's a bleak and brutal endurance test, but for viewers with the strength and patience to make it to the end, Snowtown will prove an uncommonly powerful viewing experience.

Average Rating: 6.6/10
Reviews Counted: 11
Fresh: 7
Rotten: 4

Critics Consensus: It's a bleak and brutal endurance test, but for viewers with the strength and patience to make it to the end, Snowtown will prove an uncommonly powerful viewing experience.


Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 7,556



Movie Info

When 16 year-old Jamie is introduced to a charismatic man, a friendship begins. As the relationship grows so does Jamie's suspicions, until he finds his world threatened by both his loyalty for, and fear of his newfound father figure, John Bunting: Australia's most notorious serial killer. -- (C) Official Site

Drama , Art House & International , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
Justin Kurzel , Shaun Grant
In Theaters:
Aug 14, 2012
Box Office:
IFC Films - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for The Snowtown Murders

All Critics (66) | Top Critics (11) | Fresh (54) | Rotten (11) | DVD (2)

Your appreciation of this Australian horror movie will depend on whether you think its artistry justifies its unrelenting ugliness.

Full Review… | March 15, 2012
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The film is a chilling study of an evil, dominant personality and his victims.

Full Review… | March 15, 2012
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Overlong and grim to the point where some scenes are virtually unwatchable...

Full Review… | March 2, 2012
New York Post
Top Critic

An impressive but exceptionally disturbing feature debut from Australian director Justin Kurzel that pushes the new wave of Aussie crime films up a notch.

Full Review… | March 1, 2012
Top Critic

This distressing infiltration of a family of young boys by a charismatic psychopath rewards with a stylistic talent that feels entirely new.

Full Review… | March 1, 2012
New York Times
Top Critic

What is it with first-time Australian filmmakers and ultraviolent true-crime movies about thuggish underclass families?

Full Review… | March 1, 2012
AV Club
Top Critic

I did not know this film was based on a true story until the closing credits, which makes this story so much more terrifying. Director Justin Kurzel crafted a raw feel that will leave you slack-jawed.

Full Review… | November 16, 2013

Unflinchingly nasty, graphic and gut-wrenchingly powerful, Snowtown is a film that dares you to look away, but compels you to keep watching. As portraits of serial killers go, this deserves to be hung on the wall next to Henry.

Full Review… | September 28, 2012

The grimy social realism and gurgling torture scenes place director Justin Kurzel's startling debut midway between Animal Kingdom and Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer.

Full Review… | March 19, 2012
Irish Times

It has no particular observations about the mind of psychopaths that is worth the incredibly nasty feeling you get from sitting through its incredibly grim two hours.

Full Review… | March 12, 2012
Antagony & Ecstasy

Is it the Aussie Gummo, or a true-crime drama that takes itself way too seriously? Can it be both simultaneously?

Full Review… | March 12, 2012
East Bay Express

Observing the character's regular and repeated acts of cruelty becomes numbing after awhile.

Full Review… | March 9, 2012
Television Without Pity

Although it builds quiet, thick suspense and lacks the bravado and sensationalism of most films of the genre, that doesn't always work to its advantage.

Full Review… | March 9, 2012

the ghastly glee of The Snowtown Murders comes not in the kills, but in the stalking of one's true prey.

Full Review… | March 1, 2012

Though many will be put off by the elliptical style of this clammy, feral drama about Australia's most infamous serial killer, Daniel Henshall's jaw-droppingly malevolent performance will reward all those who seek it out.

Full Review… | March 1, 2012
Film Journal International

The Snowtown Murders builds into a multipronged horror effort in which the torture and murder on-screen are matched by the psychologically convincing disintegration of a previously sympathetic protagonist.

Full Review… | March 1, 2012

In spite of the inherently interesting subject matter and psychological dynamics explored, there is little in the way of suspense. I was intermittently bored throughout.

Full Review… | February 28, 2012

Whatever one ends up thinking about The Snowtown Murders, it's difficult to deny that it's a deeply impressive work.

Full Review… | February 26, 2012
Slant Magazine

Audience Reviews for The Snowtown Murders

Confusing. Slow. Sick...

Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer

Though a realistic, unnerving depiction of psychopathy and underclass, 'Snowtown' is too slow and features a slew of characters who you don't care for whatsoever.

Jack Hawkins
Jack Hawkins

Super Reviewer

Ugly and fascinating. Uncomfortable yet captivating. Overall a sad, dark film that is extremely well crafted, acted and directed.


Based on real murders in Australia, 'Snowtown' follows a seemingly nice man as he manipulates a teenage boy into killing.

The first striking feature of 'Snowtown' is how bleak it is, the grainy filter and dark overtones give the film's cinematography a sense of verisimilitude which causes the film to be even more striking. The domestic setting also helps with the sense of realism.

The film's cast all do good jobs, especially Daniel Henshell who plays the manipulative serial killer, John, the driving force of the film's narrative. Lucas Pittaway also does an outstanding job in his first feature film.

One of my favourite parts of 'Snowtown' is the soundtrack, the incessant beat of a synthesised Didgeridoo runs throughout the film building tension and drew me even deeper into the world of 'Snowtown'.

During the middle of the film something goes of pace, for about 15 minutes I was just like "what?*. This was the biggest problem for me, apart from that it was a gripping, if slightly overlong study of manipulation.

Cameron Sherwell
Cameron Sherwell

Super Reviewer

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