The Snowtown Murders

Critics Consensus

It's a bleak and brutal endurance test, but for viewers with the strength and patience to make it to the end, Snowtown will prove an uncommonly powerful viewing experience.



Total Count: 70


Audience Score

User Ratings: 8,538
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Movie Info

When 16 year-old Jamie is introduced to a charismatic man, a friendship begins. As the relationship grows so does Jamie's suspicions, until he finds his world threatened by both his loyalty for, and fear of his newfound father figure, John Bunting: Australia's most notorious serial killer. -- (C) Official Site


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Critic Reviews for The Snowtown Murders

All Critics (70) | Top Critics (15) | Fresh (59) | Rotten (11)

  • Your appreciation of this Australian horror movie will depend on whether you think its artistry justifies its unrelenting ugliness.

    Mar 15, 2012 | Full Review…
  • The film is a chilling study of an evil, dominant personality and his victims.

    Mar 15, 2012 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Overlong and grim to the point where some scenes are virtually unwatchable...

    Mar 2, 2012 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…
  • An impressive but exceptionally disturbing feature debut from Australian director Justin Kurzel that pushes the new wave of Aussie crime films up a notch.

    Mar 1, 2012 | Full Review…
  • This distressing infiltration of a family of young boys by a charismatic psychopath rewards with a stylistic talent that feels entirely new.

    Mar 1, 2012 | Rating: 3.5/5
  • What is it with first-time Australian filmmakers and ultraviolent true-crime movies about thuggish underclass families?

    Mar 1, 2012 | Rating: B-

    Noel Murray

    AV Club
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Snowtown Murders

  • Oct 07, 2017
    Dark and disturbing in equal measure, this is an intelligent and well-acted character study about the roots of fascism within someone who wants an excuse to act on his psychopathy, as well as within those who accept to be led like cattle by the ones who are in power.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 08, 2015
    Gripping. Harrowing. If you can manage through the Aussie accents, this story of how a charismatic, machismo figure can burrow into the heart of a group and subvert the whole magilla is one hell of a ride. Like a true rollercoaster, it starts slowly, and the work plays so nearly like a documentary (without the voiceover) that it's hard to determine what's going on at first, but then you know, and like the characters on the screen the question becomes how to deal with what you know. Impressive filmmaking. And the most low-key acting I think I have ever seen, acting w/o acting. Most impressive.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Apr 09, 2013
    Snowtown is not the type of movie that one can enjoy watching, but it's very intriguing as a bleak look at serial killers and their followers, and the fact that it's based on a true story makes it all the more interesting. It plays out almost like an Australian version of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, except the main character is not the murderer. It instead focuses on Australian teen Jamie Harvey who is introduced to John Bunting, a man with a charismatic personality as well as a deep-seated hatred of homosexuals, overweight people, and drug addicts. Despite John's clear bigotry he is very conversational and sometimes even charming, and after he helps Jamie's mother deal with an abusive boyfriend, Jamie begins to see John as a father figure of sorts. However, as people around Jamie begin to disappear, leaving behind only suspicious voice-mail messages that say they're moving away forever, Jamie discovers John's gruesome secret. For the first hour of Snowtown, it's primarily a very dark drama with very little violence happening on screen, save for one scene. However, the second half of the movie is much more brutal, and can be hard to watch in a number of scenes. The violence isn't so excessive to be tasteless, but it definitely gets pretty disturbing at times. Daniel Henshall gives a great performance as John Bunting, showing John's violent sociopathic nature while also giving him a Ted Bundy-esque charm when in the presence of company. Snowtown does seem to meander a little near the beginning, but it gradually picks up the pace until it reaches its more suspenseful and creepy second half and ends on an understated and eerie note.
    Joey S Super Reviewer
  • Jan 07, 2013
    Though a realistic, unnerving depiction of psychopathy and underclass, 'Snowtown' is too slow and features a slew of characters who you don't care for whatsoever.
    Jack H Super Reviewer

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