LOOP TRACK (2023) Review by Steve Kirkham



4 stars
Arrow Films. Limited Edition Blu Ray. Arrow streaming service. 8th July

A car driving in the middle of nowhere in New Zealand. The driver, Ian Thompson (Thomas Sainsbury) pulls up in the car park of Eyer Forest Park, a vast wooded area. He seems anxious. He sets off, with his large backpack, to ostensibly hike alone, on the various remote paths the area offers. Initially he actively tries to avoid others along the trail, but unfortunately, despite looking for solitude, he can’t steer clear of the rather too ebullient Nicky (Hayden J. Weal), who insists on walking with him.

They make it to one of the huts which are dotted along the paths as night is falling – much to Ian’s consternation there is another couple there, Monica (Kate Simmonds) and Austin (Tawanda Manyimo), to intrude on his need to be alone.

Things start to happen that just exacerbate his unease and he becomes convinced that he sees something, which appears to be following them.

Slowly drawing you in, this has a good sense of the isolation in the massive landscape of trees and there is a growing sense of unease, as Ian becomes more and more paranoid. It is uniformly well acted by the small cast, especially Sainsbury, who also wrote and directed this psychological thriller. Is Ian imagining what he sees or is it reality – by the end it flips to something all the more different and out there. Sainsbury is probably best known for the TV series WELLINGTON PARANORMAL.

Word of advice – do not look at the list of Extras until you have watched the film as there a bit of a spoiler!

3 stars
Commentary with Tom Sainsbury and Producer Gabe Lunte. You also get a bunch of bite size features about the making of: The Story of Loop Track – Sainsbury intro (1 min); Origins of Loop Track – producers and Sainsbury discuss the genesis of the project (1 min); Characters and Cast – the director introduces his cast (1 min); The Creature – Zac Johnson and Gabriel Lunte talk about the design and puppetry of the creature (5 mins); Production – the crew on the production (3 mins); Cinematography – DoP Milton Tesiram discusses the look of the film (2 mins); Original Score – Mike Newport on his music (4 mins); The Hut – designing and constructing the hut in the studio with Marilyn Davidson, Art Director (2 mins); A promo for the Eyer Forest Park – where the film was shot (1 min); (Time) Travel Centre – Excellent, clever short from 2016, winner of 48 Hours Film Festival (5 mins); Image Gallery.