Stars: Jace Pickard, Alannah Robertson, Tim Page, Logan Webster, Tom Danger, Addi Craig, Val Athanassiou, Amanda Allen, Adib Attie | Written and Directed by Tom Danger
Some films manage to capture your attention with a piece of awesome poster art, which is something that Lead Me Astray does. What this low-budget debut for writer and director Tom Danger also does though, is to provide a movie that manages to impress!
When veterinary student Alexis Willard (Jace Pickard) confronts a thug harassing a woman at a train station, little does he know that it sparks off events that will bring his past back to haunt him. With his girlfriend, Lacy (Allanah Robertson) in danger, he must return to his past life of violence in order to save her.
While there is a low-budget feel to Lead Me Astray that does restrain the film in terms of what Tom Danger obviously wants it to do production-wise, it is the script that catches the attention of the audience. Using a story that is similar to Halloween, we are introduced to a character who may have violence in him, but has managed to hide it in his past, trying to live the life of what we would see as a normal person.
One way that Lead Me Astray builds up the character of Alexis is to heavily rely on flashbacks to the past. This is important as it gives the audience an understanding of just who he is, and what he is hiding from. The fact his doctor obviously thinks the violence of the past will return is interesting, and also adds in the idea that Alexis is a bomb that is waiting to go off.
In many ways, there are similarities here with the relationship between Michael Myers and Dr. Loomis from Halloween. What saves this from feeling like a rip-off of that movie though is the fact that Alexis is somewhat of an opposite of Myers. Where Myers is purely evil, Alexis is a man who decided against the violence.
To bring the violence out of Alexis, and to raise the question of just how much he enjoys the actions he takes to fight his past we see the introduction of an interesting gang of thugs that feel like they are like something out of The Warriors. While I expected, the scenes featuring these characters to be full of violence, there is a feel that the action never truly delivers, but in a way, that is the point. I’d argue Alexis never really buys into the violence, just as the movie itself doesn’t go for an over the top display of ultraviolence.
Whether Lead Me Astray wants to be an over the top celebration of violence or not, it still delivers in its own ways. Being an Australian film, there are elements that do make me smile, especially some of the choice words the characters say when they are injured (I noticed a few uses of the word ‘bugger’ in there).
Not as crazy as some of the Ozploitation movies we know and love, and constrained by its low-budget, Lead Me Astray still delivers where it matters. With an interesting twist, and a more psychological look at the question of nature vs nurture, this is definitely an impressive debut for Tom Danger.