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92 min TV Movie
Julia a nineteen year old German backpacker, arrives in Australia and unwittingly becomes involved in drug trafficking that leads her into the killing fields of a sexual predator.
German/Australian co-production. (2000)

Backlands – If you don’t trust the driver, don’t get in.

A contemporary thriller set in the nomadic world of international backpacking, BACKLANDS pits a brave young woman against monstrous evil, charts her desperate struggle to survive in a strange land, and traces her journey to eventual self-discovery.

Julia Brandt is nineteen. Adventurous, certain that something’s missing in her life, she rejects her overbearing mother – and sole parent – Hanne’s demands that she stay home in Munich, and sets off for Australia on the backpacker trail. En route to Melbourne, Julia meets two Australians, Mark and Sandy, who use her as an unwitting mule to smuggle heroin through customs. On her arrival Julia decides that she’s packed too much luggage. She forwards the excess (including the dope without her knowledge) to her uncle’s vineyard in the Baden Valley. When Mark and Sandy discover what’s happened, they set off for Uncle Max with Julia in tow – plus Jerome, a young French backpacker searching for his missing sister, Sylvie. Life on the road provides a succession of adventures and surprises, sadly including the news from Sandy’s de facto dad, Archie, that her mother died while she was out of the country.

Hanne is notified by a young Aussie cop, Steve McNamara, of Julia’s plight. She packs a bag and flies straight to Melborne, her seeming over-reaction points to a secret she’s been nursing for nineteen years.. All her life, Julia has grown thinking her father was dead. In fact, he deserted Hanne before Julia was born, and fled to Australia, a wanted criminal. For the first time in her life, Hanne unbends. When the bodies of young backpackers are found raped and mutilated in the Backlands region, near the Baden Valley, Hanne feels increasingly desperate and she confides in Steve.

At a critical point in her life – when all those about her are losing their heads, and their lives – Julia will come to face a difficult truth. Her father is alive and well – but could he possibly be the serial killer preying on young backpackers in Australia’s Backlands?

A killer is out there – but who? To Jerome’s horror we discover that Sylvie has been his victim. Mark is killed in a desperate attempt to snatch the heroin. Julia and Sandy – who’ve become friends through sharing their ordeal – find themselves on the run. It seems inevitably they’ll be next to die – unless Steve, spurred by Hanne, can save them.

Starring: Craig McLachlan, Denise Zich, Sophie Heathcote, Susanne Lothar and Dieter Laser
Screenplay by: John Reeves
Directed by Martin Buchhorn

Loaded with action, suspense and high emotion, BACKLANDS is the story of an innocent abroad forced to learn fast –or die.
Running time 90 mins.