Savage trailer teases a hard-hitting, brutal looking NZ gang movie

The first trailer has been released for Savage, an upcoming film set in the vicious world of New Zealand gangs and abusive state-run boys' homes.

The story follows a guy named Danny through three decades of his life in Aotearoa - the '60s, '70s and '80s.

"Inspired by stories from New Zealand's boys' homes and the early history of our gangs, Savage follows Danny across three decades of his life, taking a deeper look at a boy who grows into the brutal enforcer of a gang, to understand how he got there," reads the film's official logline.

Savage is written and directed by Sam Kelly, whose 2011 short film Lambs - based on the lives of at-risk Kiwi youths - played at film festivals around the world.

He says researching that brought him into close contact with New Zealand's organised crime underworld, on top of his being exposed to it from an early age.

"I come from Porirua, a place where gang members are a part of the fabric of the community. I had friends who were directly impacted by gang violence," says Kelly.

"While researching Lambs, I spent time with a Porirua youth gang and then met several former and current Mongrel Mob and Black Power members.

Trailer released for New Zealand gang movie SAVAGE.
Poster art for Savage. Photo credit: Madman Entertainment

"The stories of their childhood journeys towards becoming gang members I found the most affecting. Many came from abusive homes, were removed and placed in state care where they suffered horrific abuse, and afterwards looked to join other outcasts in a new family unit - a gang."

Kelly says the New Zealand state failed these people and that inspired him to "shine a light on the reality that gangs form not in isolation from society, but as a direct result of it".

Savage opens in New Zealand cinemas on August 27.