Greg McLean lulls us into a false sense of security with an opening that borders on the tedious. We're introduced to the lead trio of friends at a langorous pace, McLean letting the ordinariness of pace and majesty of the countryside heighten our awareness that surely something must happen soon. And so when a very friendly and nice stranger turns up to help fix their car, offering them a lift, we're on high alert. However, the wait for anything to go wrong is very cleverly manipulated and stretched out for even more suspense, before our characters suddenly realise they're in horrifyingly deep trouble, and they might not make it out alive.
In rooting it all so firmly in normality, and some very naturalistic, non-'actory' performances from all of his cast, McLean makes this all feel horrifyingly close-up and possible, and the twisted normality of the villain and casual relaxed manner with which he inflicts horrifying events on the main characters makes it even harder to watch. Knowing that this was at least loosely based on a true story made it tough viewing for us, and a disturbing experience that will stick in the brain. A frightening protrait of appalling cruelty wrapped up in charm and normality.