Review: Re-Living off the Land


When I was a kid, I always wished my family had a video camera so I could make what I thought would be cool films. As I got older my “childish” dream got sidetracked by real life and now as an adult, I’m finally pursuing that dream in other entertainment genres. However, I still wished that I had made at least one film while I had the excuse of extreme youth.

That film would have most likely been something awful but fantastically nostalgic that I could look back on and laugh at how stupid it and I was for thinking I could make something of substance.

Well apparently Paul Murphy and Simon Best had a similar dream as I but actually did put it into motion. What came of that was the schlocky zero budget horror film, Living off the Land.

Years later, Paul and Simon re-watched Living off the Land and probably had a good time laughing at the pure awfulness but they did have a thought, what if they had watched it back and seen real potential?

Re-Living off the Land is a mockumentary film following Paul and Simon as they decide to remake their old film using a higher budget, newer equipment and their self-presumed improved skill set. The main plot is told through interviews with exaggerated caricatures of the real people involved and spliced in are behind-the-scenes footage, including some hilarious conflicts’ between cast and crew. Also included is footage from the non-existent new remake and my personal favourite original footage from Living off the Land, with which the film opens.

It’s a fun tight movie that has the natural humour involved when a bunch of mates make a low budget film or for that matter work together in any stressful situation and this makes it very relatable. Also containing some humorous cameos from the late Richard Franklin (Director of Psycho II), AFI award-winning screenwriter Peter Fitzpatrick, and ARIA award-winning artist Gotye (Wally De Backer).

Despite the low budget and some overuse of the purposefully bad acting joke, I found Re-Living off the Land to be surprisingly enjoyable and I’m looking forward to seeing anything further from these young filmmakers.

Re-Living off the Land is part of the Melbourne Underground Film Festival.

Melbourne screening details:
Embassy Theatre
1 Queensbridge Street, Southbank
Monday August 24, 9pm