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A film like "Wolf Creek" caters to the lowest common denominator of movie goer - the ones who want as much blood and screaming and torture as allowed by the laws of their particular state. These are the movie goers who live for viciousness. Nothing is too much for them. And, in that sense, "Wolf Creek" delivers exactly what it promises - a realistic and uncompromising depiction of the torture and killing of two young British girls at the hands of a maniacal outback psychopath. What separates this film from a host of others is the visual style. It also helps that the four actors are all equally suited for their roles and turn their characters into people more realistic that we might want. I felt as if I was watching "The Blair Witch Project" in the outback, and that is really how the film comes off occasionally. We forget, at times, that we are watching actors and start to actually experience the suffering these people are experiencing. Now, sure, "Wolf Creek" is not totally believable. There are the 'must-have' horror movie scenes, as when the frantic young girl is trying to start the car and she looks in the rearview mirror to see the killer sitting there. And, there is the ever present car chase scene, where the killer's car is always twice as fast as the victim's. "Wolf Creek", despite what you were probably expecting me to say, was a load of horrific fun.
Based on actual events that occurred in Australia in 1999, "Wolf Creek" chronicles the road trip of three young people. Liz (Cassandra Magrath) and Kristy (Kestie Morassi) are two attractive British gals living it up in Australia when they meet up with the handsome Ben (Nathan Phillips). The three of them embark on a road trip that will take them out to the Wolf Creek Crater, and eventually to Sydney, where Ben is lives. At first, everything seems to be going according to plan. They are having fun, making good time, and becoming slowly invested in one another. By the time they reach the crater, however, their good fortune has run out. They return to their car to find that it will not start and that their watches have stopped - odd, considering Ben had just told a story about how Australia is famous for alien abductions and sightings. Alas, just as they have given up hope of being rescued for the night, in drives Mick Taylor (John Jarratt), a classic outbacksman who serves up the usual "Crocodile Dundee" rhetoric and offers to drive them back to his place to repair their car. They agree, and the fun begins. For, you see, jolly old Mick Taylor is not the good natured rambler that everyone sees around the campfire. He has more pressing matters on his mind.
The camerawork in this film is simple, and perfect. Brandon Trost has created this perfect stream of images and shots that slowly build the tension to a boil. Notice his use of sky shots and exteriors. He turns the Australian outback into something desolate...something lonely. By the time events have been set into motion, we know there is no escaping because, as we have seen for ourselves, they really are in the middle of nowhere. So, it does not become far fetched that everyone keeps dying and no one comes to their aid - there's no one to come to their aid. Director Greg McLean obviously knows how to stage and execute a good old fashioned horror road movie, in the tradition of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "The Hills Have Eyes". And, that's exactly what this film wants to be - both of those films. The villain, Mick Taylor, is very much like a hybrid of all the great villains from the horror road movies. He is slow, methodical, menacing when he needs to be, and can turn on a dime - he is someone we would expect to get along with, if only he wasn't into that whole torturing and killing thing. If "Wolf Creek" is an example of where Australian horror is headed, then I am on board. I strongly prefer a film like this over fecal waste like "Saw".
Also, I have to mention how thrilled I was at a major studio actually releasing a film like this during Christmas weekend. Movie goers need selection and not everyone wants to see Jim Carrey rob a Starbucks or Jennifer Aniston cry her mascara off. Last year, the horror film "Darkness" was released by Dimension Films and it received far better returns than anyone expected. They followed the same formula this year with "Wolf Creek" and it seems to have paid off again. Could it be that Christmas horror films have a larger audience that we ever thought? On the whole, "Wolf Creek" was a highly affective and highly entertaining horror film. John Jarratt gives us a villain to remember for a long while, and a couple of scenes that are still sticking in my head. As I mentioned earlier, films like "Wolf Creek" appeal to the lowest common denominator of movie goer. I never said that was a bad thing. I am one of those common denominator, and proud of it.
- added 01/01/2006, 11:06 AM
Does anyone know when this is out on DVD? Also,
here's one of the posters for it, a beautiful shot
- added 01/01/2006, 04:38 PM
i have the austrailian dvd, but if you dont live
in austrailia or download movies than i doubt u
can get it too soon
the film was just
released on dec. 25th here i canada...i'm guessing
the same for the u.s and the uk
- added 01/03/2006, 09:34 PM
Wayyyy too much of a generic slasher film for me.
And they didn't have to take the first hour of the
movie to build up a "mood".
- added 01/04/2006, 03:02 AM
I will agree that they spent a lot of time with
the building up of the mood, but I think that was
done primarily to lead us off the obvious path.
For a while, I started wondering if they wouldn't
have some kind of alien altercation. Plus, I
think they did want us to care about the
characters, so we would actually feel a little
something when their spines were severed and their
flesh mamed. This was not a perfect slasher film
-- not even close -- but I think it was far better
than most of the crap that is out there these
days. Makes me dread the impending remakes of
"When A Stranger Calls" and "The Hills Have Eyes".
- added 01/04/2006, 06:13 PM
I just saw it, man that is a brutal film. It's so
weird seeing the main character get killed off
first, but I guess she had it coming. I honestly
couldn't watch a bit of the torture scene, it felt
so damn real. John's character is just psychotic,
and I think the fact you need really know why he
does it makes his character that much more
terrifying. A great horror flick in a seemingly
bland time for the genre
- added 01/19/2006, 06:14 AM
saw it last night, i thought it was cool, though
its just hard to accept john jarratt being the bad
guy, and especially such a bad guy. one
thing i thought was cool was the fact it was an
aussie movie that wasn't made primarily for
- added 04/15/2006, 10:53 AM
I really didn't care for this movie. I thought
it was just slow and boring. And that goes for
the last part of the movie too. I thought the
action was just...meh. I really did enjoy the bad
guy, Mick though. That's pretty much the only
reason I kept watching. But other than that, I
just couldn't get into it. Even the action/chase
scenes seemed too overplayed and boring. I dunno,
it seems like they could of done more with the
- added 04/24/2006, 06:56 AM
Excellent movie. I agree with the review enough
that I don't feel the need to write a rebuttal,
but a few things that I wanted to point out:
1. This is based on a true story in much
the same way that The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was
based on a true story. There's a (very) minor
connection to a real-life event, but 95% of the
film was fiction. That doesn't make it any less
entertaining, but still.
character development really helped the movie.
I'll admit that it was a wee bit boring at first,
but it did help you connect with the characters a
lot more. When the "head on a stick" scene rolled
around, it was all the more brutal because of you
connected with the character and she wasn't just
another blonde bimbo in a nighty or some such.
3. Mick Taylor was excellent. Someone
hand that man an award for his performance
4. Once again, Roger Ebert can
suck my balls. 0/5 for this film? Puhleaze.
9/10 from yours truly.
- added 05/30/2008, 11:40 PM
I watched this for the first time last night. I'm
not a reviewer, so I don't write anything about
movies I don't like, and just in general I'm
pretty easy to please, but I was a little
disappointed with this one. Quite frankly I was
hoping for a little more "torture pr0n"
here. None the less, I liked all of the actors,
cinematography was good. 6.5/10
- added 10/04/2009, 02:08 AM
Watched this waaaaaay back when it came out. I
really enjoyed it then, and after watching it
again recently, I'd have to say this film is
nearly perfect. Besides being a little slow at the
beginning and ending quite abruptly, I can't find
anything really wrong with it. Some of the best
character development I've seen in a horror movie
in quite some time. This wasn't just another
Hostel or Turistas, and the film wasn't
over-the-top for the sake of it. Very enjoyable,
and definitely better than people give it credit