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First things first, Surrogate has been improperly overlooked by the film going public, potentially cast aside as a typical ghost horror story, but there’s more than meets the eye for Australian director David Welling’s debut feature film.

Secondly, it boasts Kestie Morassi (Wolf Creek) who deserves more screen time as she carves out another powerful performance for the lead character, Natalie.

On face value, you could be forgiven for your preconceptions as the narrative slowly unfolds but all this allows for Natalie’s plight to become entrenched and equally for Morassi to invest in delivering a deep portrayal of her character.

Natalie is a single parent, who has to rely heavily on her own mother, Anna (Louise Siverson) and her brother, William (Darcy Kent) to raise her daughter Rose (Taysha Farrugia). This is because Natalie is also a full time nurse, which requires her to work out of town every once in a while, taking her away from her family. It is on one of these nights that Natalie encounters an erratically behaved woman. Choosing to ignore her plight, and in doing so these inactions would go on to haunt her. This is one of Welling’s subjects that he wants the audience to pay close scrutiny to. Society is all-too-willing to shirk the responsibilities or face up to any problems that warrant attention. Let’s face it, we’re all so consumed by our own daily tribulations. When Natalie then encounters the woman again that night, thrown into trying to save her life, she unwittingly becomes the ‘surrogate’ of a ghostly presence. Upon returning home, Natalie exhibits all the hallmarks of a pregnancy that baffles doctors and brings the attention of Lauren Balmer (Jane Badler), a child welfare officer. With this comes another subject that Welling zooms in on, with the troubles that single mothers face when under pressure from their commitments and in some cases the wrongful accusations that surmount from external means. 

Natalie’s maternal instincts kick in when the phantom presence becomes a physical one, placing all those close to her, under threat. Is there an ulterior motive for these expressive and harmful measures? Or is there an inherent evil the cause of all this maliciousness? 

The Prognosis:

Welling’s feature is a decent effort for a debut. It embarks on some important issues that unfold through the course of a well-built narrative. 

He also skilfully draws out the best in his players to support his vision with Morassi leading the charge in a captivating performance of a woman struggling to build the best world for her daughter to live in.

  • Saul Muerte

Surrogate is currently screening on TubiTV.