Just released On Demand is the long-awaited sequel to 2005’s Wolf Creek!
I was a huge fan of the first film, which followed a group of tourists as they explore the gorgeous Australian Outback, specifically the giant crater at Wolf Creek.
They are unlucky enough to cross paths with a native carrying a grudge (and a high-powered sniper rifle) and the rest of the film plays out as a cat and mouse torture porn hybrid, but artfully elevated above the dregs of most releases in these sub-genres.
The audience was actually compelled to care for these unfortunate back-packers, and the film introduced us to an unlikely new horror icon.
Mick Taylor (as embodied by Australian native Jon Jarrett) is a larger-than-life charismatic killer, the kind of guy you would love to drink moonshine and trade stories with. In the first film, he jumped off the screen as a new horror icon, cementing his place among the classic boogeymen of horror cinema.
His character (and the story which is advertised as “based on true events”) was loosely based on two different incidents of tourists in the Outback being abducted and tortured.
Jarrett has also said that he modeled the character after his own father, minus the raping and murdering, who he says was “very funny, larger than life, and built like a brick shithouse, a barrel of a man.”
In the new film, it is obvious from the beginning that this is Mick’s country and the rest of us are just tourists. And he hates tourists.
In fact, despite more ambiguous motives in the first film, this time out it is made abundantly clear that his goal is very simply to destroy any foreigners who set foot on his land, or come between him and his meal.
The tone of the film is set in the outstanding opening sequence, re-introducing Mick to us as he deals with a couple of wise-ass highway patrolmen. After this brutal beginning, we quickly get introduced to Rutger and Katarina, and it seems we are being pushed into comfortable sequel territory, rehashing events eerily similar to the first film.
But before we can get bored with it, writer/director Greg McLean throws a great curveball at us, abruptly shifting the perspective, and lets the audience know immediately that this sequel is definitely not more of the same.
What follows is an intense collection of harrowing set-pieces, including one insane chase sequence on a long stretch of highway inhabited only by an unfortunate pack of kangaroos!
The entire tone of the film is drastically different than the first.
Where the original was set mostly at night and mostly in dark grimy locations, many of Wolf Creek 2’s more memorable sequences occur in broad daylight. The first film introduced the boogeyman ; in part 2 we are dragged along for the ride, with Jarret’s Taylor squarely on screen for most of the running time.
By the film’s climactic scenes, Mick resembles classic Freddy Krueger more than anything, playfully and confidently stalking his prey through his trap-rigged caverns.
He toys with his victim and makes it abundantly clear that he is in charge at all times. In fact, one of the most memorable scenes in the film involves an extended drinking and torturing sequence (complete with a fascinating history lesson!) between captor and captive, with an amusing series of questions representing the dangling carrot of potential freedom which is of course snatched away.
This is the way a sequel should be done, expanding the storyline and character without giving away all of the mystery. The character of Mick Taylor is a fascinating one, a charming and witty ruthless killer, that I would love to see more of.
Kudos to director Greg McLean for making a fresh sequel that gives us exactly what we wanted out of a new chapter. Please don’t make us wait another decade for Wolf Creek 3!
This one is highly recommended.
Watch it On Demand now, and in theaters on May 16th!
I know this is also one Blu-ray that is definitely going into my collection as well when it release June 24th.