Another camping trip gone to hell thanks to poor social distancing. Let’s face it: Maniacs have no respect for boundaries.
Three biology students from an Australian university are studying water samples in a vast, remote marshy area. As is usually the case in rural communities, the eggheads run afoul of Aussie-brand hicks, hunters, and hillbillies, who take time out from their skinning and gutting duties to harass the learned strangers.
Pria (Dafna Kronental) assumes a leadership role, but her group’s proximity to the bloody and brutal poachers erodes her confidence and she starts having bad dreams.
Gradually, the three academics intuit they’re being stalked by an apex predator with a taste for human burgers.
From a biological standpoint, Pria and her comrades are now a trio of tasty specimens caught in a primitive web, and as the tagline blithely exclaims, “When Science Ends, Survival Begins.”
The spider rapidly making its way toward them is a legendary swamp cannibal known as the Swag Man (Eddie Baroo), presumably because he gives his victims free t-shirts and lighters before devouring their flesh.
Writer-director Roger Scott keeps us off-balance with an eye-popping arsenal of swinging camera moves and perspective shifts that make the marshland scenery appear impenetrable, menacing, and steadily encroaching on the anxious scientists.
Certainly The Marshes would fit snugly alongside any number of “trespasser beware” features, including Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Hills Have Eyes, and Wolf Creek, another grueling import from Down Under.
For a non-horror comparison, I was also favorably reminded of director Walter Hill’s Vietnam metaphor, Southern Comfort, which remains an all-time favorite survival shocker.