The Horror Zine Review
A film by Ray Arthur Wang
Director: Ray Arthur Wang
Directed by Ray Arthur Wang
Reviewed by Jeani Rector
The film Down Under begins as a young woman wakes up to find herself crouched on the floor, black tape over her mouth and her hands tied behind her back. A mysterious second person enters the room, holding a black bag. You don’t see this person; only witness the actions of that person.
And the actions are gruesome. The victim is cut on the eye along with other tortures.
Then the camera pans away to reveal the fact that the perpetrator is another woman.
Down Under is a short film created by Ray Arthur Wang to publicize hate crimes committed against Indians in Australia. Inspired by true events, Down Under is a torture film that actually has depth and meaning, despite its incredibly short run time of eight minutes.
The Horror Zine does not normally review shorts, but made an exception for Down Under due to the director’s attempts to raise awareness on racially motivated hate crimes. Plus the film is also unique since its content is violence committed against a woman by a woman.
Down Under ends with a news broadcast that tells the true story of what actually happened in this case. It is a fascinating study of how hate crimes can be committed by both genders, even though society rarely considers this idea.
Director Wang specializes in films that are social commentaries on important human rights issues. His previous film was a documentary titled Tapestries of Hope, a feature-length film that exposes the myth of virgin cleansing (if a man rapes a virgin he will be cured of AIDS).
Down Under seamlessly mixes formats, with most footage shot HD (3D), with sizable chunks shot on 35mm film (2D). It is presented in square 1:1 aspect ratio and optimized for 3D, what Wang calls "cubic filmmaking" for its claustrophobic, trapped-in-a-box experience. Wang feels that technologically speaking, the film is ahead of its time, as he found out the hard way when submitting to festivals (most festivals were very hesitant since they don’t support 3D yet).
The acting in Down Under is very good. Leah Bateman as the victim is very convincing. In fact, my only complaint about Down Under is its length. I would have liked to have seen a longer version of this film.
Still, for a short, it makes a long impact on an important social issue.
Learn about the film HERE
About the Director
Ray Arthur Wang
Self-taught filmmaker Ray Arthur Wang (pronounced Wong) is a director/ writer/ producer/ composer.
About the reviewer
While most people go to Disneyland while in Southern California, Jeani Rector went to the Fangoria Weekend of Horror there instead. She grew up watching the Bob Wilkins Creature Feature on television and lived in a house that had the walls covered with framed Universal Monsters posters. It is all in good fun and actually, most people who know Jeani personally are of the opinion that she is a very normal person. She just writes abnormal stories. Doesn’t everybody?
Jeani Rector is the founder and editor of The Horror Zine and has had her stories featured in magazines such as Aphelion, Midnight Street, Strange Weird and Wonderful, Macabre Cadaver, Ax Wound, Horrormasters, Morbid Outlook, Horror in Words, Black Petals, 63Channels, Death Head Grin, Hackwriters, Bewildering Stories, Ultraverse, Story Mania, All Destiny, and many others. Her book Around a Dark Corner was released in the USA on Graveyard Press in 2009.