Monday, 16 September 2013

Review - Wolf Creek (2005 - Dir. Greg Mclean)

I saw this a while ago and I wasn't that impressed, probably due to an abrupt ending. But I enjoyed Rogue by the same director and decided to give Wolf Creek another chance.

I'm glad I did. Mclean's love of the Australian landscape comes across strongly as it did in Rogue. There are many examples of beautiful photography in both films which is maybe not something that you'd expect from the killer crocodile and serial killer genres. Spotting this link between the films helped me to watch this pretty gruelling offering with fresh eyes.

Three backpackers head out to Wolf Creek for a laugh. It's out in the middle of nowhere and they travel there in a dodgy clapped out old banger. Things start going wrong almost immediately with their watches stopping and their car packing up. They don't even need to bother checking to see if they can get a signal on their phones.

Eventually things go wrong and in true horror film style they don't help themselves much. They make a fair few stupid decisions, some of which can be excused, and one in particular that can't. Rather than trying to leg it from an insane serial killer, the ladies decide to hang off a cliff and hope that he doesn't see them. And then proceed to knock some loose soil down into the abyss causing a rather conspicuous noise. So she tries the hold on by one hand and make the shush gesture with the other hand manoeuvre. That'll sort it. 

Two out of the three backpackers being non-irritating is not a bad ratio. Both Cassandra Magrath and Kestie Morassi make their characters empathetic and believable (well, most of the time, but the cliff incident is the script's fault, and not down to their acting abilities). It is quite upsetting when things take a distinct downward turn for them. Nathan Philips meanwhile plays a very irritating character who I wanted to die from very early on. Evidence? He makes a comedy Captain's log video that drives me to extreme violence and even some mild swearing. Fortunately, he calms down with the arrival of another character and he actually manages to pull it round (something he didn't manage in the terrible Dying Breed).

I won't say too much about the killer apart from the fact that he's great. Really well acted and incredibly disturbing. Two scenes stick in my mind, one with each of the female backpackers, and to say that he's brutal and chilling is an understatement.

The ending still feels quite abrupt, but this is probably due to the fact that it's based on true events. It's not quite as bad when it's expected. All in all, I've warmed to Wolf Creek. It's probably due to the photography and the way that the director has tried to play with some of the horror cliches to provide new scares. I've just seen too that Wolf Creek 2 is on its way, again by the same director. Might be worth a look...

If you like this you could try:
The Hills Have Eyes (either version), Rogue.

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