Aaron Glenane and Ian Meadows in Killing Ground.

In Killing Ground, writer-director Damien Power manages to tell a nightmarish, horrific story in a way that eschews exploitation and gratuitous violence—while still being somewhat violent … and really, really scary.

A young couple (Harriet Dyer and Ian Meadows) goes on a camping trip in a remote Australian location. They notice other campers nearby while setting up their tent. Power then shows us that other family in a separate timeline, enjoying nature and taking strolls. Then, slowly, the true situation that the young couple has gotten into begins to unfold. We are talking about major levels of dread and terror.

Power presents the ultimate in family horror, but he does it in a way that generates genuine sympathy for all involved. The people going through terrible things in this movie are fleshed-out, complete characters. Nothing feels schlocky or like horror porn … it’s a bare-knuckled, nightmare-fuel endeavor.

The cast also includes Aaron Pedersen and Aaron Glenane as inhuman locals, as well as toddler Liam Parkes in an incredibly moving performance; this kid will break your heart. All are first-rate.

You will have a terrible time watching this movie—as well you should. It’s about terrible things, and Power, a new director with major talent, knows how to show terrible events without being cheap. This movie is the real deal.

Killing Ground is available via online sources including iTunes and Amazon.com.