The Nullarbor Nymph
A film by Mathew Wilkinson
Gold Coast Arts Centre
Monday 25th June 2012
Reviewed by Craig Gallagher
The Nullarbor Nymph is a film, albeit produced with some risk, by director Mathew Wilkinson. When I say risk, this was not your typical movie venture, due to limited financial backing and the way in which the plot developed. Wilkinson’s choice of Nymph is not what immediately comes to mind, when you hear the title of the film, particularly if you have a romanticised notion of the mythical creature. The Nullarbor Nymph was produced with a $25k budget (money raised by Wilkinson by cleaning dunnies and the like) and in the beginning, struggled to find mainstream acceptance.
The story of how The Nullarbor Nymph film came into existence can be attributed to Wilkinson heading to Ceduna S.A. to find himself, and being attracted to the folklore of one of Australia’s outback myths. The origins of the Nullarbor Nymph are explored in this mockumentary, which is based on stories about victims of the Nullarbor Nymph, through the eyes of survivors and locals of Ceduna – whether they believe the myth or not. The story follows two employees from Water Australia as their work takes them across the Nullarbor; only to be ultimately in the sights of the Nullarbor Nymph, a mythical blonde temptress with an appetite for one thing!
The cinematography is a bit rough and ready at times but keeping in mind the budget constraints when producing the film and the fact that there were never more than 3 production crew on location at any one time, The Nullarbor Nymph displays characteristics of the grindhouse genre. The fine line is walked, but only to ensure the pace, tone and intent of the story are effectively portrayed to keep the audience connected.
Showing both Ceduna and the surrounding outback, The Nullarbor Nymph captures the elements of mystery, myth and at times the desperation for survival, presented to the audience with the quintessential Aussie humour, tongue in cheek and down to earth Australian character; not too ‘ocker’ or over done.
There are some moments which use suspense and anticipation; and the imagery and humour are essential for keeping the pace and viewer interest, considering the low budget available and little to no special effects used. The film could be viewed as scary in parts by some audience members, and along with some nudity, it’s probably not the most suitable movie for Gran.
As this movie is based on folklore it would not be appropriate to discuss the storyline too much, best to go into the movie with an open mind and be prepared to go on the journey with the Nullarbor Nymph.
The Nullarbor Nymph is sure to be an Australian cult movie, which will be found in DVD collections in time to come. For the rawness, Australianness and the uniqueness it is a must-see for those who enjoy a good ozploitation film.
Walk in with a sense of humour and walk out with a smile on your dial!