TV

Can the modern Wake In Fright measure up against a cult classic?

The mini-series is going head-to-head with the 1971 movie and 1961 book of the same name. Here's our review.

By Thomas Mitchell
Wake In Fright

The moment Network Ten announced a Wake In Fright miniseries, the haters let loose on the project.

You see, the 1971 movie is a classic, with many cinephiles hailing it as one of the best forgotten films of all time.

Meanwhile, the 1961 book 
is considered a seminal novel.

So, to be fair, the makers of this miniseries were probably right to worry. Luckily for them 
(and us), this series will grip you 
from the opening scene.

Wake In Fright begins with a shot of a young man running for his life through the desert.

Covered in blood and sweat, it’s clear he’s found himself in a terrible situation.

We then wind back the clock three days to 
see John Grant, played by the impressive Sean Keenan, finishing up his last day as a school teacher in 
the small town of Tiboonda.

A car accident leaves John (Sean Keenan) stranded in a mysterious town.
A car accident leaves John (Sean Keenan) stranded in a mysterious town.

Desperate to get home and see his girlfriend in Sydney, John hightails it out of 
the sticks, but hits a kangaroo 
on the way, rendering his car useless.

Stuck in the nearby town of Bundanyabba while he waits on repairs, John mingles with the locals, unaware things are not as they seem.

While Wake In Fright has the weight of history on its side, it’s also boosted by a top-shelf cast.

Sean, a scene-stealer in Hoges: The Paul Hogan Story and Puberty Blues, has truly reached leading-man status.

Police sergeant Jock Crawford (David Wenham, left) and John.
Police sergeant Jock Crawford (David Wenham, left) and John.

Meanwhile, David Wenham is at his menacing best as Jock Crawford, an unlikeable cop. Alex Dimitriades also stars as Evan “Doc” Tydonas.

While the two-part series will inevitably be compared to the film, they’re different beasts.

But one 
thing they do share is that both will have you glued 
to the edge of your seat.

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