Australian cinema has produced a handful of really good, really sick horror movies. One of the best was the earliest, Patrick (1978), about a guy who kills a lot of people despite suffering the handicap of being in a coma. Razorback (1985) starred a killer boar on the loose, and Wolf Creek (2005) had a psychopath dealing to three annoying backpackers. But none can match the revolting grossness of The Kiwi That Soared, the new 60 Minutes film about Jacinda Ardern.
It ought to come with an R18 certificate. It ought to come with a sickbag, too. Only those of strong constitution will be able stop themselves throwing up a stream of vomit that could travel the entire ditch between here and Australia.
At only 13 minutes, the 60 Minutes profile of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern feels like an eternity. The screaming never stops. In the style of Wolf Creek, Ardern and her partner Clarke Gayford play naïve dupes who wander into the lair of a frightening, shambling super-villain – presenter Charles Wooley.
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Wooley is so incredibly and relentlessly creepy. "I'm somewhat smitten," the old fool drools, and his liquid blue eyes fill with love every time he looks at Ardern – and Gayford. He's crazy about both of them. He wants to get to know them better. He wants to get to know them intimately. When he establishes from Ardern that her baby is due on June 17, his breath gets heavier and his blue eyes moisten; he leans closer, and says, "It's interesting how people have been counting backwards to the date of conception, as it were."
As it were! God almighty. Wooley, the old lech, in bed with Ardern and Gayford, with his yellow teeth and his blotchy skin – who invited grandpa?
It's all about Wooley. Ardern and Gayford are barely present, but they're always like that in front of the media. Ardern has given a great many personal interviews and has never said anything revealing in any of them. She trots out the same old clichés to Wooley, too. Gayford does his usual thing in all interviews – dad jokes. "He's the First Bloke," Wooley waffles, but the more Gayford prattles on, the more the poor, trapped devil begins to come across as the First Dickhead.
Wooley drags his creepiness hither and thither, always on the move. "Her electric smile!", he raves. He asks Ardern, with the senility of grandpa in the ward, "What's a nice person like you doing in politics?" Later, he makes a speech: "I've met a lot of Prime Ministers in my time, but none so young, and never so attractive."
The horror. The horror. At the end, his big, sweaty face fills the screen, he bats his eyes at Ardern, and says: "Perhaps we can go fishing sometime."
Gayford fends him off with a dad joke. Ardern goes white. Just when they thought the interview was over, and Wooley could drag his rotting old carcass back to Australia, out of their lives, he does the same thing that the psychopath in a coma does at the end of the 1978 film Patrick, just when you think he's dead – he comes back for more.
You can imagine a sequel. A year has passed. Cut to Wooley in a boat. There's Gayford and Ardern, frozen with fear. Wooley is leaning over a cot. The cameras are rolling, we have sound, and Wooley is chanting, "Who's a good little baby. Who's a good little baby. Big smile for your old mate Charlie!"
Steve Braunias is the senior writer at the NZ Herald