Gnarly Outback Thriller FAIR GAME (1986) is Back Out, Now on VOD

1986’s Fair Game is a harrowing thriller from the back half of the Ozploitation boom. This tale of survival and paranoia pits a lone woman, Cassandra, against a trio of vicious kangaroo hunters. After an encounter on the road in which Cassandra is run off the road by the goons in their two speeding trucks, one of which is a memorable pickup outfitted with external protective caging, they follow her home and decide she makes a more interesting prey than kangaroos, with increasingly violent and invasive aggressions.

Angered and vengeful, Cassandra also tries to deliver some payback, a bad idea which escalates the situation into more outright violence and destruction — it’s not long before they’re just straight up trying to murder her, and she in turn is ready to kill to survive.

If your perception of the Outback is largely filtered through its negative portrayal as a ferocious and backward hellscape as seen in exploitation and horror films like Razorback or Wake in Fright, well, Fair Game certainly won’t do anything to help alleviate that.

Thankfully the film doesn’t fall back on getting rapey as often is the case for genre fare of this kind, though there’s clearly a strain of misogyny expressed through sexual aggression and violence in the degenerates and their dealings with Cassandra, from lewd come-ons, trespassing, and photographing her voyeuristically, to much, much worse.

In the film’s most famous and iconic scene, the baddies mount her, with clothes ripped open, to the front of their truck and go for a joyride (an image which not only symbolic of the crucifix — a punishment of the blameless— but is itself echoed in the “blood bag” concept in Mad Max: Fury Road).

While there’s not much to go by in the way of comparison, the HD transfer’s picture quality that I watched via a streaming screener looked pretty solid, much better than any reference archival video that I could find online.

This film has been fairly difficult to come by in the US, now over 20 years since its DVD release. Dark Star Pictures has brought it back for a VOD release following a brief limited theatrical showing, and you can now find it to rent or buy on Youtube as well as Microsoft and Google’s platforms.

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