Australia makes great film and TV — and there’s plenty of local talent working here and abroad to ensure Australia’s entertainment legacy long into the future. Over the last few years, we’ve had an impressive array of local Aussie film and TV, as well as joint international productions. While we can’t celebrate the success of films like Shang-Chi, Mortal Kombat or Thor: Love and Thunder just yet, there’s plenty of other recent Aussie-made hits worth checking out.
Here’s a few of the best flicks Australia’s had a hand in making over the last few years, and where to watch them locally. (Note, this list is by no means exhaustive. Australia’s had an excellent few years, and we can’t possibly mention everything great that’s released over this period.)
Picnic at Hanging Rock (TV, 2018)
Picnic at Hanging Rock is a classic Aussie tale about the mystery disappearances of young girls on a school trip. The premise is incredibly simple, but also very haunting — and there’s a reason it still fascinates audiences. Over the years, the tale of the missing girls has become entrenched in urban legend, and given the Australian outback another layer of intrigue.
In this modern TV adaptation, the mystery of the disappearances is teased out far longer than in the film, but it still presents a heart-pounding glimpse of how one strange event can change an entire town of people.
Picnic at Hanging Rock is now streaming on Binge.
Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun (2020)
If you’re a fan of absurdist humour (think The Mighty Boosh) then you’ll fall in love with the lads from Aunty Donna. While the crew have been making waves in Aussie comedy circles for years, it wasn’t until 2020 that they hit the mainstream. Their Netflix series Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun really showcases the group’s wild humour, and makes for an absolutely entertaining TV show.
You only need to watch the above clip to understand if you’ll like the antics Aunty Donna gets up to. Their humour isn’t for everything, but if you’re a fan, the show is an absolute gut-busting blast.
Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun is now streaming on Netflix.
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
While Thor: Ragnarok isn’t often counted as an ‘Australian’ film, the fact is it has two Australian leads (Chris Hemsworth and Cate Blanchett) and it was partially filmed in Queensland, Australia. So semantics aside, it definitely counts as an Aussie-made film.
This is hands down one of the best Marvel movies so far (tied with Captain America: The Winter Soldier). If you’re looking for beautiful sets, high-speed action, an excellent world-spanning adventure and great comedic performances, Thor: Ragnarok has it all. While you may need to have some knowledge of Marvel flicks to really understand what’s going on, it’s great as a standalone film too.
Thor: Ragnarok is currently streaming on Disney+.
The Gloaming (2020)
If you’re a Twin Peaks fan you’ll love the spooky gothic mood of The Gloaming, an Aussie crime drama set in the wilds of Tasmania. Yes, it’s about a murder, but it’s also about broken people and how they carry on in the wake of tragedy. It’s not quite ‘supernatural’ but there’s a hefty dose of occultism and creepiness in this thriller, all with that signature Aussie flair.
For sinister vibes and strange towns, definitely check out this TV drama.
The Gloaming is currently streaming on Stan.
Bloom is a high-concept TV show about a great flood that births a plant capable of restoring youth to the elderly. While it only had a short run, the show’s two seasons were incredibly intriguing and proved just how fun and exciting Australian fantasy TV can be.
Phoebe Tonkin (The Vampire Diaries, The Originals) is excellent as lead character Gwen, and the show’s backed by an all-round stellar cast. It’s absolutely beautiful, and really shows off the depth of Australia’s talent pool in both filmography and performances.
Bloom is now streaming on Stan.
The Dry (2021)
The Dry is a gothic crime thriller set in the Australian outback and starring the excellent Eric Bana. It centres on the death of a young woman named Ellie Deacon (BeBe Bettencourt), and the struggles of a small town to deal with the legacy of her passing. If you’re in the mood for a gritty exploration of humanity and the ‘small town hiding big secrets’ genre, this film should be on your list.
It’s incredibly haunting, and one of the best Aussie films in yonks.
The Dry is currently screening in Australian cinemas — but it’s towards the end of its run, so you’ll need to get in quick if you want to catch it. If you miss out, it’ll end up on digital stores and on demand in May 2021.
Gizmodo Movie Night is a bi-weekly feature where we share themed film recommendations for you to enjoy on the weekend.
Stay tuned for the next instalment.