Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
WOLF Creek begins with the startling statistic that approximately
30,000 people disappear every year in Australia. Of that total,
90% are found after about a month, while the remaining 10% are
never seen again.
The ensuing tale, we are told, is based in fact and includes
an epilogue regarding the fate of one of the characters.
What goes on in between is truly terrifying - although not always
for the right reasons.
Greg McLean's film begins well, taking time to get to know the
characters, while building that sense of impending fear and isolation
that is so key to a successful horror movie.
It then takes a detour into grim territory during which it sadly
becomes another nasty and exploitational slasher flick that seems
to take a worryingly perverse delight in sadism.
The film focuses on a trio of backpackers, comprised of two English
tourists, Kristy (Kestie Morassi) and Liz (Cassandra Magrath),
and their new-found Australian guide, Ben (Nathan Phillips).
At first, they are enjoying the coastal experience - drinking
and partying the night away - before heading into the Australian
Outback on a road trip that includes a stop at Wolf Creek - a
meteor crater in Western Australia famous for being the second
largest known impact crater on land on the earth.
It is here that their troubles begin. Having spent the day at
the crater, they return to their car to find that it's completely
dead and are forced to camp overnight in the hope of being rescued.
Help appears to be at hand in the
form of a grizzled but jovial Aussie named Mick (John Jarratt),
who says he can fix the vehicle if the trio allow him to tow them
to his home.
But once there, however, the terror begins as Mick isn't the
man he first seemed but rather a killer who delights in teasing
his victims and prolonging their deaths for his own warped pleasures.
Die-hard horror fans will probably revel in what follows but
more discerning viewers are likely to be appalled - and rightly
By the film's own admission, it is impossible to know the fate
of several characters, so the subsequent account - graphically
told - is purely the imagination of the director.
It makes the extreme violence perpetrated against the women all
the more objectionable and totally gratuitous.
Had McLean opted for a more psychological approach, perhaps,
his movie may have been more effective and more memorable, yet
by resorting to tired genre devices he cheapens the impact of
proceedings and loses the audiences' respect.
Morassi and Magrath act scared and scream a lot, but they also
become reduced to stereotype, opting to fall into the same stupid
traps that befall many a Hollywood horror victim.
While Jarratt's killer fails to cut a credible figure in spite
of his capacity for cruelty - he is, deliberately, a sort of demented
It's a shame given that Wolf Creek begins so well and includes
some fascinating cinematography that nicely contrasts the staggering
beauty of the Australian Outback with man's capacity for ugly
Once the blood-letting starts, however, McLean's movie finds
itself trapped in its own creek without any paddle.
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