Ozploitation films have been on the rise since the 2000s, with neo-classics like Wolf Creek and The Loved Ones proving that horror is alive in well down under. This new generation of Aussie filmmakers is injecting a much-needed dose of creativity into modern horror, resulting in an emerging film industry that goes way beyond Mad Max (or even Thunderdome, for that matter). With this in mind, director Lachlan Huddy has produced a clever short film that aims to unite one of the oldest horror tropes, vampires, with one of the most recent storytelling techniques, the mockumentary.
Guy’s Trade stars Guy Williams as a vampire hunter in an alternate version of modern day Australia. Here, vampires have become an urban nuisance, and the government encourages citizens to take up arms agains the undead menace. When a documentary film crew is allowed to follow Guy around, they attempt to chronicle his hunts, motivation and views on the morality of hunting what used to be human beings.
Although it’s apparent from the beginning that this isn’t a special effects extravaganza with a huge budget, the faux-documentary aspect actually helps sell the dark world that Huddy has created, with an added layer of realism that helps to maintain the suspension of disbelief. However, the direction does make good use of the limited budget, blending practical and digital effects almost seamlessly, in a character-based experience. Williams is fantastic in his role, with a backstory that could easily be expanded in a possible feature film.
That being said, the vampires themselves aren’t all that frightening, with exaggerated make up that doesn’t quite sell their intended corpselike nature. The CGI used to transform them is also spotty at times, but Huddy’s decision to show only enough so that the viewer can understand what’s going on saves these scenes from mediocrity, keeping the film brief but intense. It’s easy to forgive technical flaws with this kind of budget, but hopefully, a future adaptation/expansion of this story will address these issues.
There’s a lot to love about Guy’s Trade, despite some minor technical gripes. The story is fortunately heavy on character and knows when not to focus on the action, instead of selling itself as a blockbuster trailer for a possible future movie. Lechlan Huddy’s vampire infested world does seem like a good place to start a larger franchise, but the short itself is worth a watch, regardless. If you’re a fan of vampires, mockumentaries or Australian horror in general, you’ll almost certainly enjoy this seven-minute thriller.
You can watch Guy’s Trade at the top of the article!