Wolf Creek 2 Review

Posted: April 12, 2014 in Horror, Reviews
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Wolf-Creek-2-Photo-2-610x406The irony of the Wolf Creek movies is that if the Australian Tourist Board were looking for a filmmaker to deliver images to entice tourists to take the long trip Down Under, director Greg Mclean would be a natural choice. At the beginning of both films – the original in 2005 and the sequel which opens shortly in the United States – the varied landscapes of Australia are highlighted beautifully, from the wonderful sand beaches of the coast to the surprisingly lush pockets of green in the interior to the stark other-worldliness of the Outback.

Yet, writer Greg Mclean, who penned the screenplays for both features, even more effectively dissuades any outsiders contemplating a walkabout by means of his creation, Mick Taylor (John Jarratt), the ever amiable serial killer, who stalks, slices and skins travelers to the isolated Wolf Creek National Park.

Not much is necessary in the way of a plot recap for Wolf Creek 2; certainly, none for those who have seen the first. Unfortunate tourists are taken back to Mick’s place. He drugs them, ties them up, and threatens them. They whine, escape, do something stupid and are caught again. They whine some more.

What differs from the original is that we now learn that Mick may be a vigilante, eco-terrorist, xenophobe, racist, rapist, and/or frustrated game show host. Jarratt is terrific in the main role – no one goes from zero to psycho any faster or more convincingly – and carries the action as the victims are interchangeable stereotypes. Mclean wisely brings Mick into the mix from the first scene here, unlike with the original in which audiences had to wait almost half the movie before his first appearance. In fact, the first scene in Wolf Creek 2 might be the best one in the entire film as Mick is pulled over by two bored cops who decide to hassle the wrong ranch hand. It’s fun to root for Mick, but he squanders that good will faster than George W. Bush.

Mclean does a lot right, and, for a brief period, there’s hope that the film may shed the restrictions of a remake (and almost every horror film sequel is essentially a remake) and go in the direction of the cult favorite, The Hitcher (1986). No such luck, but there are a handful of memorable moments, and the movie does carry a distinct Australian identity. Mclean takes delight in perverting some of the iconic images foreigners hold of his homeland. Witness the outrageous kangaroo scene in Wolf Creek 2; whether it is outrageously funny or outrageously offensive will depend entirely on whether you share the common Aussie view of the marsupials as something worse than nuisances. Mick’s questioning of one victim’s knowledge of Australian history is also fair dinkum from the home team’s point of view, but the scene plays long.

Overall, the film is a bit too mean and a bit too much. Mclean’s talent is evident. He won Best Director from the Australian Film Institute  for the original Wolf Creek, and this reads as an improvement over that outing. Going forward, there is no reason that he should not stay within the horror genre, although he would seem to have the chops to move into straight action films as well. Still, it would be disappointing if Wolf Creek 3 were his next project. As any visitor could tell you, leave Mick be.

Two stars.

 

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