Director: Justin Kurzel

Looking for a downer of the most visceral kind? Let us suggest Australian filmmaker Justin Kurzel's phenomenally bleak The Snowtown Murders, the “based on a true story” serial killer knockout about Aussie’s most notorious homicidal maniac, John Bunting (a masterful Daniel Henshall). From 1992 through 1999, using his disarming charm and manipulative personality, Bunting infiltrated a practically destitute community and amassed a growing legion of followers to help him slay those he deemed as wrongdoers.

Cleverly, Kurzel and screenwriter Shaun Grant enter the hellish events through the eyes of a sympathetic teenager, Jamie (Lucas Pittaway); fatherless and lonely, Jamie yearns for a paternal connection, which, unfortunately, he finds in Bunting. How Jamie’s life devolves into misery and bloodshed is what gives the unflinching Snowtown Murders the ability to have such a vice-like hold on your nerves, right down to the film’s intensely grim final shot.