Coffin Rock

Review by Stephen Theaker

Jessie Willis (Lisa Chappell), a marine biologist in a small Australian coastal town, has been trying for a couple of years to have children, but her chunky seventies-style husband is reluctant to have his swimmers checked. After getting drunk and having sex with a stranger, Evan (Sam Parsonson), she’s pregnant, but can’t bring herself to abort. And Evan’s a psychopath looking to start a family…

Casting Lisa Chappell of McLeod’s Daughters in the lead here is a bit unfortunate, good as she is, because it highlights that the storyline is pure Hallmark “woman in trouble” melodrama. The other problem is that she just seems too intelligent to behave this stupidly, failing to go to the police even after Evan’s been in the house, and letting her husband beat up an innocent man.

A couple of scenes will have everyone putting a hand to their mouth in horror – I’ve never been so happy to read that “No animals were harmed during the making of this film” – but for each of those there’s another that may have you laughing out loud. For example, the effect of Evan sitting in the rain to watch television is hilarious rather than chilling.

Coffin Rock’s directed with some panache, the score is good, and the actors are all well-cast; it’s a decent stab at doing something special with well-worn subject matter. If it was a TV movie-of-the-week, you’d be surprised at how good it is. As a cinema release, it would have been a bit disappointing. Overall, worth renting if you like this kind of thing.

Rupert Glasson (dir.), Aus, 88 mins.