Director – Greg McLean
Cast – John Jarratt, Cassandra Magrath, Kestie Morassi, Nathan Phillips, Gordon Poole
Release Year – 2005
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Wolf Creek has always been a film that has stuck out to be me because it was the first Australian horror film that I ever saw, and it was a good one as well. Taking its time and settling on unnerving horror created by Greg McLean’s positive direction, Wolf Creek is a rare blend of the usual vacation horror film that delivers a unique premise in this often clichéd horror sub-genre.
Kristy, Ben, and Liz are three friends embarking on a hiking trip through Australia’s beautiful Wolf Creek National Park. Upon returning to their vehicle after their initial day hike they run into trouble when their car won’t start. Stranded in the middle of the Australian Outback with little supplies, they are elated to accept help from Mick Taylor, a local outdoorsman who tows them to safety with a promise of fixing their vehicle the next morning. Little do the three friends know, accepting Mick’s “helping hand” comes with sinister consequences, and their vacation has now become a nightmare.
Greg McLean(Rogue) made a name for himself with this film, and it goes to show that you do not need a lot of money or A-list actors to make a solid horror watch, just creativity and ingenuity. He gave us the often used vacation horror idea where we follow a group of people exploring an area that they are not familiar with and then come in contact with a sinister killer, or group of killers. However in Wolf Creek he added his own unique take to the idea by not giving us some deformed cannibal or demented creature, but simply delivering a normal looking person who harbors some psychotic fantasies. It is because of that right there that this film is as scary as it is, because it shows that you can never truly trust someone even if they seem like the trustworthy type.
Most of the storyline follows Kristy, Ben, and Liz as they are traveling toward Wolf Creek, meaning there is quite a bit of development that takes place. I did not personally enjoy this, especially when these 50 minutes of development take up a lot of the films 96 minute runtime, but thankfully the events that took place once the development was over were good and satisfying. Once things get going the tension never slows down, and we are left feeling as helpless as our protagonists are thanks to the awesomely written character that is Mick Taylor. His down-to-Earth persona was fantastic is keeping the viewer on edge given you know that he can’t be as nice as he appears to be, and when things turn ugly he really lets loose. It took a while for things to get going, but McLean’s screenplay wound up a tightly written piece by the time the credits rolled.
To compliment his positive screenplay. Greg McLean’s direction was equally as awesome, and managed to keep my interest during the film’s long developmental process until the good got going. McLean shows that his patient execution of the film’s most tense scenes was a genius idea as he drew them out as long as possible without overdoing it. The musical score was simple yet haunting, and he got positive performances from everyone involved, especially from John Jarratt(Rogue) as Mick Taylor. Wolf Creek is often remarked as a “gory” movie, but I really did not see enough gore for me to warrant such a term to describe the film. There are some good kills scenes that involve live-action gore, but the film was never “gory” in my opinion, nor did it give me any scenes considered “torture porn” either. Instead, Wolf Creek is that simple and moderately paced movie that gets under your skin more and more as the movie runs on,
Overall, this is a positive Australian horror film that delivers great tension and good horror despite getting off to a slow start. Awesome direction and a tight screenplay from Greg McLean make this film a treat to watch, and he also included a sweet killer to marvel at.