Film Review: Wolf Creek

Wolf Creek
Wolf Creek

It�s Christmas Day 2005, and as tradition would have it, another excuse for the whole family to scurry out to the Hollywood-run shakedown machine known as the local theater and plop down $10.50 to get 90 plus minutes of escapism from the real world. This year, the gods must have been showing us favor, because much to our surprise, they were actually releasing a film for us kind people� a horror movie. What an excellent opportunity for all of us to wash away the stench of this overly-merchandised holiday season? Plus we were greeted by the best gift any horror fan could get, because we weren�t having another candy-coated PG-13 piece of crap  shoved down out throats, but rather an Aussie concocted terror-trek that definitely had the balls to make us feel uneasy and dirty.

First time director Greg McLean (Interview), who also wrote the film, drew on a number of real-life incidents from the Outback to craft together the story behind Wolf Creek. In particular the story samples the dark and deadly world of serial killers Ivan Miat and Bradley Murdoch who both wreaked unnamable havoc on their unsuspecting victims for several years. Their real-life crimes go beyond even the most-imaginative writer�s capacity and it was from these horrific events which fueled the overall effectiveness of Wolf Creek.

The story centers around two young English women (Cassandra Magrath and Kestie Morassiout) out for the holiday of a lifetime in the land down under. Along the way, they hook up with a local Aussie boy (Nathan Phillips) and decide to venture out to Wolf Creek Park, a place born out of the devastation of a meteorite impact. Much like the chaotic changes unleashed by the original meteorite, their exit from this magical place will dramatically impact the course of their lives. After spending the day wondering the trails and traverses of the crater, they decide to head back to the civilized world, but not so fast.  When their car won�t start, they decide to stay overnight with hopes that someone will be by to help them the next morning. Unbeknownst to them, their wayward good Samarian (John Jarratt as the psychotic Crocodile Dundee wannabe Mick Taylor) is a cold blood killer determined to lead them down a path of unimaginable torture and terror.

Built on the traditions of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the Hills Have Eyes, the success of Wolf Creek is that it is rooted in the reality of uncomfortable believability, both unrelenting and visceral. The grittiness of John Jarratt’s performance is amazing and chilling. The gore, not grossly overdone, is well place and effective. I would not go so far as to say that this film is not without flaws, but it does bring a refreshing sense of promise to a genre that is all too often stale in its attempts to scare.

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