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STUDIO: The Weinstein Company
RUNNING TIME: 99 Minutes
- Available Subtitles: Spanish
- Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
- Deleted Scene
- The Making of Wolf Creek
Of all the wildlife in the Outback, none is more aggressive Down Under than Sebastian Caine.
Australia may have a reputation for the most dangerous animals on the planet, but ol’ Mick Taylor wants to prove he’s more of a threat to humankind than any ol’ snake.
John Jarratt, Cassandra Macgrath, Kestie Morassi, Nathan Phillips.
Well it looks like Old Man Rucker has seen Phat Girlz.
Based very loosely on Ivan Milat’s "backpack murders" that rocked Australia in the 90’s, Wolf Creek is at its basest a new take on the Texas Chainsaw style of horror flick that is in vogue these days once again. A remote location is visited by a handful of people who no one knows exactly where they’ll be and a truly sadistic fuck or fuckers nail them one by one in the most raw and brutal manner possible. It’s as stout a horror premise as there is, mostly because of the fact that there are no hidden tricks being used. No supernatural undertones, no indestructible villains, and no twist endings.
I hated Wolf Creek when I saw it in the theater. I’d intentionally done no research on it, hoping to allow for a hyped horror flick to kick my ass nice and good since so many in recent memory had been praised by my contemporaries and then ended up sucking like a Saigon whore. Then I saw it and wanted to punch my grandmother in the crotch. When the disc arrived I wanted to do the DVD review, because I had a different take than most about it. Basically that it was a pile of shit. I pride myself on horror and the site is sort of built on a backbone of it and I just couldn’t allow another dog to be released without my little jab at it. It’s why I saw Hostel, because I hated Cabin Fever and wanted to slap Eli Roth around cyberspace. It was a failed attempt since I really liked the movie.
This was to be my jab in the eye of Wolf Creek.
"Sir, we’ve taken the Red October a little off course."
So much for that. This flick was a lot more bearable the second time around and without the uncertainty of bountiful scares waiting around the corner I was able to enjoy the little things about the film that make it fun. When compared to a film like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (the original), this one has a lot to offer in terms of character. While I don’t really care for the three leads, I understand the concept of the slow burn. There’s no real horror for the first forty-five minutes of the film, and it becomes a situation where you wonder who is going to survive and who’s going to wind up as a hanging torso in the villain’s garage. The movie doesn’t muck with conventions as much as take its time getting to the creepy stuff and even then it doesn’t offer much new but it does score a coup in the persona of Mick Taylor, one of the more energizing villains to grace horror in some time.
It’s no longer interesting to have a faceless malevolent slasher terrorizing twenty-somethings. It’s been done so much that the horror spoof films have moved on to stuff like War of the Worlds (high comedy to be sure). Mick Taylor comes at you under the blanket of goodwill and that’s twice as creepy. It’s hardly a new approach as proven by Night of the Hunter and many like it, but it gives a horror flick vitality to make the effort. If the filmmakers had done a little more to make the protagonists interesting this could have been a special flick. Typically when a film’s most engaging character is the villain it becomes less about rooting for the "heroes" and more about seeing how they’re dispatched and this is no exception. None of the leads are really all that memorable or worth rooting for so the opportunity is squandered. Taylor (John Jarratt) is the living embodiment of the postcard Aussie, a foreigner’s take on the character until he breaks out the killing implements and the actor runs full throttle towards camp and somehow reels it in. He’s like one of those brightly colored frogs, almost cute but subversively lethal. The film finds its way once we’re seeing the extent of Taylor’s evil and I have to admit that a film really gets on my good side when there’s an unexplained torso hanging in the lair of a villain. It tells me they take pride in their work and are willing to work overtime. Wolf Creek‘s best moments are the ones where Taylor really shows the virtuosity of his craziness and the utter lack of concern he has for repercussions.
Sadly, this is a film of moments. A few scenes truly deliver but the majority of the running time meanders and feels disjointed. On top of that, the finale is wholly unsatisfying and allows no resolution that makes the journey worth it. Still, there are some moments to savor and it doesn’t manage to be creepy once we’re in the remote and dangerous killing place for Mick Taylor. I just wish they’d had better lead characters. I wanted them to die painfully.
It’s better than I originally though but it still ain’t all that good.
Wolf Creek‘s insanely creepy script attracted top grade talent. Like Cliff Curtis.
The DVD has a pretty fun commentary track from the nubile leads and the filmmakers. No appearance from the terrific murderer, but it’s still to see how low-budg filmmaking is the same and different overseas. The film seemed to be really shaped suring the shoot and it’s nice to see a filmmaker sharing the credit liberally as well as a nice familial rapport between the cast and crew. The deleted scene is about 11 seconds long and totally extraneous and the stuff that makes this the "unrated" edition is sadly of the same variety that haunts most DVDs of this sort. It’s nothing shocking, just stuff that wasn’t submitted to the board to get a rating. I was hoping for stuff to make me vomit across the living room and what I got what minimal changes and nothing that affected my feel for the movie.
There’s also a decent documentary about the making of the film and it’s really a shame I had no real love for the film or its participants to make it more valuable than a curiosity.