Carnifex (2022) - full transcript

An aspiring documentarian and two conservationists who venture into the Outback to record the animals displaced by bushfires where they discover a terrifying new species.


Yeah. No pressure.



Most mammals are placentals,
like us.

So we spend a long time
in the womb,

and then we come out
fully formed.

But most marsupials are only
pregnant for a few weeks,

then, they grow outside
of the mother, in a pouch.


Marsupials are mostly nocturnal,

um, which means that they
hunt for food at night.

And we have
meat-eating carnivores,

plant-eating herbivores
and omnivores,

which basically just
eat whatever they can get.

The wombat, they
have this defence mechanism.

It runs head-first
into its tunnel

and then the dingo sticks
its head in and tries to fight.

The wombat pushes its back up

and crushes the dingo's head
against the roof of the tunnel.

Little hard-arse.

I respect that.

But on a serious note,

Australia now has more
than 100 endangered species.

And if we don't get them help
now, they'll become extinct.

It's Ben, master field


This is Bailey, the
film-maker I told you about.

They said it might be hard to
find a team that wanted to do it,

so I really appreciate it.

Ben was the only one
who volunteered.

Hey. Look, none of the others
would have been any good.

Trust me.


Did you not
want to do it, Grace?

I was just nervous
about being on camera.

Oh, look, it's fine.
I totally get that.

So if ever you guys
feel uncomfortable,

just tell me and we'll do
something else.

Wait, did you
already get filmed?

I sounded like
a boring know-it-all.

Ah, it's just who you are.

Uh, my name's Matt.
Uh, I'm a park ranger.

We, uh, we look after
thousands of hectares of forest,

so I'm on the road a lot.

But every day, there's always
something different happening.


We maintain camp grounds,
control feral animals.

And uh...

What else do we fucking do?

Um, do you wanna just tell me...

Oh, yeah, we keep an eye out
for illegal hunting.

And then
there's the bloody greenies,

always getting into it
with the loggers.

And then there's you lot,
from the government,

who are always checking
in on us. Never stops.

Don't you work
for the government, Matt?

Yeah, I... don't be
a smart-arse about it.


You okay?


He's got our coordinates, but we
can activate the emergency beacon

and send out a distress signal
if we need to.

Love that.

Oh, there's no reception
past here, so...

we've got the satellite phone,
but if you wanna message anyone,

you should do it now.

Nah, I'm good. Let's do it.


Let's go.

So, uh, what were you doing
before you decided to follow us around?

I usually shoot just like corporate
stuff, safety videos and whatnot.

Really exciting things.

But then,
after the fires happened,

I just wanted to help make
things better, you know?

At least I want to
feel like I'm trying.

If we play a tiny part in saving
one single species, it'll be worth it.

Sure. But, I also want
my contribution to be that

I discover a species that's never been
seen before and it gets named after me.



And what if it's
a swamp-dwelling rodent?


- Hey?
- Yes.

If I change my mind
about something I say,

can I take back permission
to use it?

Yes, you can revoke consent
at any time.

Right, that's what you say now
and then later on, you could be, like,

"Oh, no,
you signed this form, so..."

Yeah, well.

And do you have any tips for
how to be good on camera, or...

you know, just
like how to be not shit?

Top tip. Try not to sound like your
idea of how you think you should sound,

- if that makes sense.
- Um...

Just use like your normal,
regular talking voice.

Right, okay. Just talk
like a normal person.

Yeah, like you're explaining
stuff to your friend,

who doesn't know
anything about science.

You know, you just don't want to
be condescending, is the main thing.

Oh! I mean, that's the best
thing about being a scientist.


Tell me about Ben.

Yeah, I was one of those kids that
was just, like, obsessed with dinosaurs.


And I had this massive crush
on my biology teacher.

Okay, yep. Right.

Not like a sex thing.

No, that's, um...

It was a nerdy crush. Like it...

- I got it.
- Like a brain crush.

I totally got it.
I just don't know if it's...

- Do you want me to go again?
- Um...

I think we've got it.

So in order to survey the
bushfire regrowth area for wildlife,

we plant four of these
at every site,

we leave them for a month

and they get activated
by heat and motion.

What kind of animals
are we looking for?


Potoroos, a couple of
kinds of possums.

And another 43 marsupial
species that also live in trees.

How'd you end up
doing this job, Grace?

Like, did you always want to
be an ecologist in conservation?

I've always loved animals.

Kind of easier than people.


I wanted to use science to help
save animals from extinction.

And the work we do
is critical to that.

But seeing how bad things are

can be... overwhelming.

So we count them

and if we find the right number
of target species,

they can't log the site.

But sometimes, we get
overruled and they log it anyway.

You know, then I think,

if we weren't out here
doing this kind of work,

all the land will get cleared
and all the animals will die, and...


We want to help the animals but
the thing we have to save them from is us.

It's the weight of all of that
that crushes you

and makes you feel helpless.

We have to make plans for the
future, even if there isn't gonna be one.

We have to keep going
and even when we fail,

we have to get up and try again.

Do you believe that
science can save the world?

Hey, these are pretty chic.

- These protect you...
- Shit...

...from snakes, spiders, ticks,

leeches, bull ants,
itchy plants.


Okay, so quite useful, then.

Scientist at work.

What is it?

It could be an extremely rare
swamp wallaby.

It's a kangaroo.

We're scientists, Ben.

Yeah, I'm being accurate.
I'm doing my... my...


This could also be
a swamp-dwelling rodent.

Bennicus ratticus?

That's... that's exactly it. Yeah,
I'm gonna name it after myself.

We record the distribution
of species since the fires.


And then we use the baseline
data to track any gradual changes.

Is there less diversity?

Sometimes there's more.

If you find animals
in new places,

it means that
they've lost their homes.

And that means that they have
to move to other animals' territory.

And these other animals
may want to eat them.

I mean, they are coming back.

It's just that the forest is a
lot smaller, so they're hungry.


An hour after sunset
is peak feeding time.

It's like everyone's going to the
same restaurant at the same time,

but some of the organisms are
going to discover they're on the

specials board.




Oh, yeah.

Excuse you, Goose.

What is it?






Goose, get here!


Where are you?

Bloody dog.

Stop here.

- Shall we try something else?
- Yeah.


- You ready?
- Yep.

Can't believe that worked.

That's a signature owl move.

- That's so good!
- Don't make it lame.

All right, let's keep going.

Oh! Wait.

What is it?



He's just waking up
from a little 20-hour nap.

- Really? Twenty hours?
- Yeah.

When he grows up, he'll eat for
three-and-a-half hours and then, he might

squeeze in half an hour of
screaming and grunting

to try and get a girlfriend.

Like you on the weekends.


- Do you want a go?
- Yeah!


Look, there's something there!

You see it?


It's gone.


Sorry. Sorry.


Put down possible Morepork.

Those owls have been
sighted on the mainland.

I'm going to put unidentified.

I had so many animals
when I was a kid.

I mostly just bred mice.

It was like a little
God-complex thing,

I think that parents
force on their children...
teach them about the world.

- Oh, man.
- It's crazy. Um...

- To teach them about death.
- Yeah, pretty much.

- Yeah.
- Oh.

When I was a kid,

I went on this
school excursion to the zoo

and I kind of
wandered away from the group

to check out
this really cool gorilla.

I'm, like, looking down, with
all these kids and families.

We see this little furry
creature about the size of a cat.

I guess somehow it just escaped
wherever it lives in the zoo

and it's found its way
in with the gorilla.

And all the kids are like, "Oh",
like, "Look at that little fluffy thing!"

Then the gorilla looks over,

it takes him, like, one second to
catch it and shows it to the crowd.

And then he just starts
fucking beating it

against a rock until it died.

Like, the kids are screaming,

like, parents are
trying to drag them away.

And then he holds up
the little dead animal,

and he starts
pounding on his chest.

It was like,
he was saying, like,

"Fuck you!" Like, "If you
wanna put me in a cage,

then you have to
see who I really am."

I was so rattled.

My heart was
pounding out of my chest

and I remember
the zookeeper guy,

like, walked past me
and I grabbed him by his sleeve

and I was, like,
"You gotta go in there.

"You gotta do something.
This is... This isn't right."

And he just looked at me and
he just shrugged his shoulders

and he said,

"I'm not going in there.

That's his territory."

Hey! Hey, Grace.


I'm sorry.
What's... what's that?

It's just an expressive possum.

Oh, of course.

Okay, cool. Thanks.

Uh, it's a brushtail.


Oh, and that's a sugar glider.

Do you wanna sleep in here?

Go on.

Yeah. Oh, okay.

Thanks. Sorry.

It's a southern boobook!

I'm sorry, he's so annoying.

I like him.

He's like a kid who wants
to show you all his tricks.

It's none of my business,
but how do your partners feel

about you guys
going on these trips for work?

My ex was fine with it.

And Ben hasn't had
a relationship since...

like, ever.





No, it's okay.

My brother.


He's not here any more.

The fires last year.

I'm so sorry.

Thank you.

He would have liked you guys.

And loved what
we're doing out here.

What is that?

It's just a koala.

Just a koala?



Uh, did you sleep okay?


Did you hear that koel bird?

Uh, yeah.


He was just whistling his little
heart out, trying to meet someone.

He sounded like his head
was going to explode.

That's exactly what it's like.


Are you in need of
some short-term pair bonding?

I mean, I am kind of amazing
at whistling, so...



Uh, how was your... your walk?

Oh, it was amazing.

So what's going on today?

Ah, we're retrieving some cameras
that were left behind by another team.

That's still happening,
isn't it?

Yeah, yeah.

Yeah, right. Good, good.
I will break down this tent.

Does it tell you the exact spot?

It pinpoints within ten metres.

- Oh.
- Yeah.

Okay, should be
somewhere around...

Ah, here!

Do you watch it straight away?

We don't have to,
but I always want to.

All right, let's find the others
and see what we've got.

I'm always
desperately hoping that we find

a thriving population of
something rare and endangered.

It's a feral cat.


I mean, I try not to
think of any animals as bad.

I mean, it's not their fault
that they prey on native wildlife.

It's our fault
for bringing them here.

- Ooh, is that a brushtail?
- Yeah.

One of the least endangered
species, unfortunately.

Look at those little beady eyes.

Rabbits and rodents.

Not even endangered rodents.

I got it.

We could probably
just move it, no?

He has to use all of his tools
every trip or he feels ripped off.



Ooh. Thank you.

It's a beautiful job.


These old growth
forests are getting rarer and rarer.

These trees are so beautiful.

If we don't find something endangered
soon, we could lose this whole forest.

A hollow-bearing tree just like this
one supports a diverse range of animals.

If the tree is removed,

then it can be
the final determinant

in the extinction
of a local population.

And the extinction
of one species

can affect the survival of, like,
a whole lot of other species.

So fairly important, then.

Man, can we sit for a bit?

Hey, can I borrow your shovel?

Do you also need to
borrow my toilet paper?


Gold mining was
the only way to get rich,

so people came out here and built these
little houses and just started digging.

Like, can you even
imagine that way of life?

Actually, no.

And now we have to watch out
for random holes in the ground.

- Random holes.
- Mm-hmm.

Guys, can we get going?

Almost there.


- You should have got that on camera.
- Dammit!

Are you all right, mate?

You bleeding?

Uh, yeah. It's a stream.
You see? You're next.

GPS signal is getting ropey.

I need a better view.

We should be somewhere
around here.

It's so green.

Oh, come on.

Oh, whoa.


This keeps happening.


- Oh! What the...
- Jesus.

Oh, my God.

Looks like somebody's
been having a nice dinner.

Wow, look.

This bone's been chewed on.

By what? What do
you think's been chewing on it?

It could be feral pigs,
wild dogs, dingoes.

The colour's variated.

It could be from more than one
animal and they got into a fight.

Or it could be from one animal
with camouflage markings.

Looks like these
branches have fallen down.

There's been
some kind of struggle.

This paw print.

Do you have the plaster?

Did you put it back in my pack?

You know what?

Let's just see
if we got it on camera, hey?


It's in still mode.

Looks like it stopped recording
three weeks ago.

Can you see anything?

Uh, we got birds.

We got some mice.

Got an echidna.

Ooh! A bush rat.

Look at him go.

Oh! Okay.

Oh! Hello.

A yellow-footed rock wallaby.

Are they rare?

Very rare.





- Ah.
- What?

- Okay.
- No, no, no. Just go...

Yeah, yeah.

No, go back to...

All right, just stop it.

Gimme a sec.

What's happened here?

I don't know.

What is it?

We should call the ranger.

The photos are old. It's probably
moved on since the bait ran out.

We're supposed to notify him if we
see any evidence of feral animals.

Yeah, well, maybe
it's not a feral animal.

I don't know,
maybe it was a human.

It's a long way to fall.

Somebody could be out there
crawling around with a broken spine.

And if it was you stuck
out here with a broken spine,

what would you want us to do?

Oh, mate, I'd be fine. I'd just
eat some bugs, drink a bit of urine.

It's a lovely day to be on
the course, ladies and gentlemen.

Like a champion.


Sliced it.

Oh, well. Look, I'm kind of in
the middle of something right now.


Well, you just sit tight
and I'll come and see ya.

Anyone's up to anything
dodgy in my jurisdiction,

they'll have some pretty
hefty fines to pay.

Oh, did you get yourself
into a bit of trouble, did you?


Yeah, well,
that's what they all say.

Yeah, well, I don't mind getting
myself into a bit of argy-bargy.

Makes the day fun.


I'll send you the coordinates.


I'll come and find ya.

Yeah, for sure. Uh...

Yeah, uh...


- Bye.
- No worries, Ben.

He's probably lonely.

They should make it so
everyone gets a partner.

I mean, can you imagine if we
had to do this job by ourselves?


Hey, guys.

Come check this out real quick.

Look at these.

Can you see it?
Look at these scratches here.

See those?

That's claw marks.



Look at that. Two thumbs.

Some marsupials have them
for climbing and hunting.

Have we got any bait left?


It was hunting here because
we gave it a handy little food source.

So you want to lure more
unsuspecting animals to their deaths?

In the name of science.

You know for a fact Matt
will kill it if we can't ID it.

Here we go.

Oh. Yes!

What's all this about?


Guys. I think I know what it is.


It's a large
carnivorous marsupial

that's probably nocturnal.

And it's arboreal, which is
consistent with the colour variation

of the fur we found.

Whatever scratched
up that tree has two thumbs.

Your megafauna carnifex
only has one thumb.

Maybe it's a sub-species.


The Somali elephant shrew, yeah?

It was thought to be extinct and they
found a bunch of them living in the desert.

The elephant shrew
wasn't seen for 50 years.

Thylacoleo carnifex hasn't
been seen for 50,000 years.

Well, maybe they've
been living out in the forest

peacefully killing things
for dozens of years.

And then the bushfires
completely ravage their ecosystem,

so they're forced to move to
new territory, closer to humans.

Look, the history of evolution
tells us that... hmm, life finds a way.


I have no idea
what you're talking about.

It's the thing
drop-bears are based on.

Um, I thought that was just a
made-up story to scare tourists.

It is.

Yeah, but it's based on a real
creature and it's nothing like a bear.

Are we... We're not in...

you know, danger?

Well, I don't know!

I don't know
why you're laughing.

Oh, my God.


Yeah, good dog.

All right.

- Rolling.
- Okay. So...

In ancient Rome,

the public executioner
was called the Carnifex

and that literally translates
to "the maker of meat".

Then you wind it back
a few million years,

to the last days
of the dinosaurs,

the ancient ancestors
of marsupials

were actually much bigger
than they are now,

and T. Carnifexwas
one of those animals.

It's highly territorial

so if you stray into its
hunting ground, it will kill you.

But it's not just gonna chase
you across open ground like a lion.

Oh, no, no, no.

They're an ambush predator,
and that means that they will hunt you.

Stalk you.

In the forest, like a tiger,

and then they'll jump you.

Oh, my God.

It bites down
through your jugular.

It severs your spinal cord.

Holy shit!

Wait, how did that ever die out?


the currently accepted science is that it
was naturally occurring climate change.

Yeah, right.

So, where's old mate?

Do we know?

Did you check the coordinates?

He might be in the wrong place.

Yeah, I checked.

So call him.

I'll message.
Sure, just for you.

What did you say?

Don't worry, didn't tell him about
my genius megafauna theory.

I said, we think
it's a native species,

so if he sees anything,
don't kill it.

Did you hear that?



There's something
moving out there.

What is it?

I don't know. Can't see.


Got the spotlight.

No, no, no, it might run away.

Just hang on.

Oh, Ben!

God's sake.

Never been happier to
see a goat in my entire life.

You know, feral goats erode
the soil and reduce plant diversity.

Oh, Ben, not now. Jeez.

It's true.

I'm just saying,
it's nothing to celebrate.

It kind of is for me, actually.

No, no, I'm not trying
to be at you or anything.

I'm just saying, you know...

Okay, sweet.

Did you hear that?

Oh, my God.



What the fuck is that?

We have to get closer to ID it.

This is historic. I mean,
we're gonna be in biology books.

It's unbelievable.

- Okay.
- Oh, my God.

Could be the last of its species.

I bet it's a sub-species.

Whatever it is, we could get
this entire forest protected.

Oh, my God.

What's it doing?

Maybe it's eating?
Or hiding its food?

Whoo, okay.

It's like a leopard.
It stows its prey.

Hey, Bailey! Ready?

We're good to go. Okay.

Okay, coming around.

Okay, bring it in, but slow.

- Yep.
- Slowly.

It needs to go higher.

Really don't want to scare it.

Keep going.

Almost there.

Yeah, just tell me
if I'm getting too close.

Yep, okay. Yep, yep.


- You see that?
- We're getting too close.

Just... Just hover it
right next to it.

Ben, we're gonna freak it out.

She's right.

It's moving. Shit.

No. Oh, no!

It's gone.

No, we can't... Shit!

Where... No!

Stay here.

Ben! Wait! Ben!



Come on.





You okay?


No, no, don't move.

I'll come down.

Then we'll both get stuck
in here. Just get the rope.

- No, that'll take way too long.
- Oh!

Hold on a sec.

Your chariot has arrived.

This isn't you rescuing me.

It's your fault I'm down here.

When we get out of here,
we should...





Stay away, stay away,
stay away, stay away, stay away!


Grace. Grace!

Hello? Hello!

Oh, my God!

Keys, key, key, keys!



Hey. Hey!

Hey, buddy!

Hey, you wanna get in?

Come on. Come on!

Come on!

Come on. Come on, hop up!
Hop up! Good girl.

Hey, what's that? Hey?

Hey, buddy.


What's your name?


Hi, Goose.


I'm Bailey.

What do we do now?

Maybe your person
will come and find us.

You just stay with me.
It's okay.


It's okay. It's okay.

Come on.


It's okay.

What is it? What is it?
What is it?

It's okay, it's okay.
Don't worry.

It's okay.

It's okay.

It's okay.

Oh, my God!

Ben... Ben. Ben is out there.

He's out there.

We have to go. We have to go.

Let's go. Let's go!


It's Ben's!



Where's Goose?


We have to
get out of its territory.


You drive. I'll call for help.



Here, good dog.


Now they can find us.

Let's go.

Just keep it steady.

- Okay.
- Oh, fuck!


Give it more power.

Come on!

Slow, slow, slow. It's okay.


Oh, fuck! Goose!

Jump in.
We have to get it moving.

We have to go!

Keep going!

Keep going.



Get in!

Get in!




Get back.


One shot.

It's gone, Grace. It's gone.