Good thing I have a website to keep track of what I thought about movies, because I really had no idea what my thoughts were on Wolf Creek. I didn’t remember much about it, and when I went back to read my review, that’s pretty much my overall feeling. Not bad, not great. Why the fuck are they making a sequel to a movie based on true events almost ten years after the original? Well apparently writer/director Greg McLean asked himself the same question, as he has said he wished he had gone ahead on making Wolf Creek 2 right away as it would have been easier to get funding. I didn’t really have high hopes for the movie, considering my ultimately forgetful experience with the first film, but guess what? I FUCKING LIKED IT. I LIKED THIS MOVIE MORE THAN THE FIRST. AND HERE’S WHY.
Is hitchhiking a thing that anyone can do safely anymore?
A statistic appears on-screen explaining just how many people go missing in the Australian outback every year, and how many are never heard from again.The opening sequence lets us know that out serial killer from the first film, Mick (John Jarratt), is up to his old tricks. Those tricks being murder. Since the film is attempting to explain what happens to backpackers in Australia, the film then focuses on a couple of backpackers from Germany trying to find Wolf Creek. They do, but are also quickly found by Mick. A pursuit then starts when Mick chases down the female of the group, and when she is picked up by Paul (Ryan Corr) by the side of the road, all this accomplishes is Paul now enters Mick’s crosshairs. Those crosshairs, by the way, are REAL good at catching what’s in them. There’s torture, there’s chasing, there’s Mick being a crazy person, and even a kangaroo stampede. THIS MOVIE HAS IT ALL!
Don’t be sad! You have a British accent so everyone will love you forever.
Remember how House of 1000 Corpses was pretty good, and then The Devil’s Rejects was way better? THAT’S LIKE THE SAME THING THAT HAPPENED HERE! Wolf Creek was decent, and Wolf Creek 2 clearly took the strengths of that film and cranked those strengths farther than the original. One strength of the original was the intensity of the violence. The original film, like a lot of Australian horror as of late, has the gritty quality to it that reminds you of horror films from the 70’s. Even though I’m sure those are choices of style, it feels like budgetary limitations, possibly because someone’s in their basement actually doing these things to someone else. The look of the film is a lot more slick and the film quality looks like it’s improved, the amount of shocking kills and graphic violence has intensified. Sure, it’s ridiculous at times, but it makes the movie a lot of fun. The other strength that got cranked way the fuck up was John Jarratt, who really sold the insanity of this film.
Not pictured: DOZENS OF KANGAROO CARCASSES.
You could easily justify a serial killer in almost any movie by just citing that he’s got a case of the crazies. Mick definitely has a case of the crazies, as we saw in the first film, but we also get to see that character develop in this installment. The opening facts about the dangers of the Australian outback don’t really paint Australia in the safest light, and Mick doesn’t really have a problem with that. In fact, he’s sick of seeing all of these tourists in his native land. His response? Murder as many as possible. If he doesn’t murder them, he leaves them for dead so they can spread the stories of the maniac who kidnapped them in the Australian outback. Seeing this case of nationalism gone wrong gave a fresh spin on an unforgiving serial killer and created one of the most tense scenes in the movie, where Mick gives someone the opportunity to escape if they can answer enough trivia about the history of Australia. I’ve seen a lot of scenes like this, where a character sees an opportunity for escape but must bide their time, but I’ve never really seen one quite as effective to the audience. A lot of the fear of a horror movie comes from the audience putting themselves in the shoes of one of the characters, so when we see this character enduring physical torture while formulation an escape plans, it results in the scene oozing as much tension as blood.
Poor guy! I hope he makes it out safely.
Another big strength of Wolf Creek 2 would be that the film never really focuses on any one character for an unbelievable amount of time. In some horror films, and especially in horror franchises, seeing one lead character undergo so many close calls with a psychopath can make something feel completely unbelievable. It makes the lead character feel like they’re invincible and you can start to predict what might happen. With the way the story was structured, you could shift focus from one character to the next and never really focus for too long on any single character. This isn’t to say there’s a new character introduced every 10 minutes, but even without giving every character a long backstory, you can quickly sympathize with them because, without knowing anything about them, you can relate to that feeling of “why is this happening to me?” because obviously none of them deserve it. The film can be silly at times, but I believe that it’s entirely voluntary. You know when to laugh because Greg McLean and John Jarratt wanted you to laugh. The movie is brutal, bloody, hilarious, and John Jarratt gives another hilariously disturbed performance. Oh yeah, and it has “wolf” in the title.
Wolfman Moon Scale