Director – Greg Mclean
Cast – John Jarratt, Ryan Corr, Shannon Ashlyn, Philippe Klaus, Shane Connor, Ben Gerrard, Gerard Kennedy, Annie Byron
Release Year – 2014
Reviewed by John of the Dead
It was Christmas Day, year 2005, when I saw what is still one of the best films of last decade, Wolf Creek. Greg Mclean’s simple but highly effective debut film shocked the masses and gave us the best Aussie horror we had seen in our modern day. The years passed and he followed up with the enjoyable Rogue, a killer croc flick, but I never thought he would give us a follow up to the film that made his career. Typically, sequels debut while the effect of the first film is still relevant to the masses, which is usually two years at the most. It surprised me when I learned last year that Wolf Creek 2 was a go, as I was sure most viewers, including myself, had forgotten about the original film. Either way, I was excited to give this a watch and went in hoping that Mclean still had it in him to further the carnage caused by serial-killing pig hunter Mick Taylor, and that he did. Wolf Creek 2 takes its predecessor and does what sequels are supposed to do: make the series even better. Wolf Creek is the sincere effort that even non-horror critics loved, and Wolf Creek 2 is the monster movie we’ve been waiting for.
The outback is home to some of the most dangerous animals in the world, and the most dangerous of them is man – specifically, Mick Taylor. Once again, unwitting tourists become prey for the incognito killer who does not merely kill for food, but for euphoric pleasure.
Mclean kicks the film into high gear with a great slow-burning intro that ends in the same maniacal fashion that will continuously linger over the 106 minute experience. Teaming with a co-writer (actor Aaron Sterns) for the first time in his career, Mclean’s story will appear as more brash than brainy, but that is far from the case. After the opening sequence we follow a pair of naïve tourists looking for fun in the isolated outback, and we are lead to believe that these will be the protagonists we are to follow from there on out. WRONG. For the first act of the film the story treats its characters the way Feast did, where you are constantly thrown for a loop over who the lead protagonist will be…because they all keep dying. This tactic is fun and it keeps you focused on what is going on during the developmental phase. Once Taylor has his eyes finally set on a nemesis its all all-out brutal cat and mouse game for the remainder of the film. Instead of focusing mostly on one location like the first film did, this sequel takes us across the Outback. There are even times when the film feels like the Spielberg flick Duel, mixed in with Joyride, as they battle each other on the open road. Eventually things settle down and we see the inner workings of Taylor’s compound, and that is when the film really shines. I really enjoy it when a sequel does more than give us the same antics but also improves on the story and reveals more to the viewer, which Wolf Creek 2 does. Most importantly though, Mclean’s horror is absolutely incredible. The kills he wrote into the film are maniacal, brutal, and unforgiving. No one is left unscathed and everyone who comes across Taylor is killed in brutal fashion. Men, women, the elderly – NOBODY is safe from this man. With awesome kills, a great antagonist, and constant tension, this is a story that never drags and actually becomes even better when it slows down for the slow-burn scenes.
Mclean’s direction is absolutely incredible and he does the best job possible when it comes to bringing his story to life. Starting with the opening sequence he gives us a great preview of things to come, which mostly consists of brutal torment and gut-wrenching kills. The film’s atmosphere is fantastic, and excellent locations are used to give us the same solemn yet adventurous feelings the unwitting tourists exhibit. We receive great performances from our leads, with Ryan Corr delivering a breakout performance while John Jarratt solidifies Mick Taylor as one of the genre’s most maniacal killers. Despite all of this, Mclean’s greatest accomplishment is his execution of the kills. Each kill is shown with full-frontal direction, never skimping away or keeping the carnage offscreen. We only see live-action gore, and lots of it. From blood splatter to dismemberment / decapitation, everything is done with practical effects that do their job in leaving a lasting memory well after the end credits roll. With 3 solid horror films under his belt in 8 years, it is safe to say that Greg Mclean is one of the genre’s top modern filmmakers, and I hope he continues his great work.
Overall, Wolf Creek 2 is a damn good sequel to a damn good film. Greg Mclean gives us one of the best horror films I have seen in quite a while and possibly the best of 2014 so far. The horror is diabolical, the tension is ever-present, and as I mentioned…it’ll leave a lasting memory well after the end credits roll.