A Korean reality TV show advertises for 8 contestants to take part in a new show where they will spend seven days in the Australian outback, competing in seven different games to see who survives to claim the US $1 Million prize. They are picked up at a remote Western Australian airport and driven through the night to a remote cabin where they are left to rest and prepare themselves for the first game on the following day.
The first challenge turns out to be your usual run of the mill Survivor type game, but things soon heat up after the winning team discovers that despite winning, they are all up for elimination, by form of a secret ballot. The looser is not impressed but has to say goodbye to the remaining seven contestants.
On returning to the cabin the seven find that the eliminated person’s bags and passports are still in the cabin. Confused but not overly worried, they go to bed, in anticipation of what the morning will hold.
The second day brings a new challenge, a treasure hunt, but when one of them finds the body of yesterdays eliminated contestant, things start to get a little freaky. Then when the show’s director kills the loosing contestant for the day, right in front of everyone, the films spins into a surreal survival horror.
The remaining six contestants now realise that they are not in a reality TV show, but a battle for their lives, lost in the vast remote outback, and it’s up to them to turn n each other, turn on the game show host, or try to escape.
Whilst I have already called A Million a survival horror, it’s not really a horror film in the truest sense of the genre. You’d probably call it more of a high octane thriller, with a steadily rising body count. The story is weaved together with such skill, twisting back and forth that you’re constantly on edge, even when the pace slows down.
As a dedicated madman stalks his prey, setting up tests that will drive them to their deaths, people’s true characters come to the front, bringing even more uncertainty to the outcome.
This original take on the reality TV craze that doesn’t seem to be running out of steam (unfortunately), captivates you with it’s audacity and strings you along for the ride, finishing up with an ending that turns everything on it’s head that you will never see coming. Brilliant.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read