Reviewbr> "In this world, there's people like me, there's people like you. People like me eat people like you" - Mick Taylor
Mick Taylor, pig shooter and Outback legend, has headed north to hunt some wild pigs, and generally prey on the foreign tourists attracted to the Wolf Creek Meteorite site. He first encounters two highway patrol men, and objects to receiving a speeding ticket from them, he then encounters two German backpackers and objects to their very existence in his homeland. Just when you think its curtains for one of the German victims along comes Paul, a pommie tourist, who immediately puts himself in Mick's eye line.
Paul is unable to save the German who sort help from him and barely escapes with his life from Mick's truck demolition derby. Naturally you don't get away from Mick Taylor that easy, and woe betide anyone trying to help you. Paul is forced to play games with Mick, and naturally the forfeit is going to be painful. Can Paul escape Mick's clutches and if so can he make it to safety?
One of the amusing comments I read prior to seeing Wolf Creek 2 (WC2) was that the movie was "unnecessary". Now whether or not you agree with this description, and I certain don't, the amusing part is the exactly same comment was being made about McLean's original Wolf Creek (2005) by a then SBS Critic. So pretty much this comment is redundant, unnecessary if you like, and would tend to indicate a lot of Critics who are attacking WC2 are either completely unoriginal in their reviews or that they actually can't formulate a coherent argument around attacking the movie. Sure WC2 isn't likely to be the best horror movie of the 2014 cinematic vintage, but it does exactly what it sets out to do and doesn't short change the audience, who go in knowing exactly what sort of deal they are going to be rocking out to.
I was left wondering, as the end credits rolled, whether or not the Wolf Creek franchise is today's equivalent of the Friday The 13th franchise. In both we have a psychopath who is cleaning up in his "house", though Wolf Creek's Mick Taylor is infinitely more terrifying a character than Jason Voorhees, Mick is after all simply a psycho with a plan while Jason was an unbelievable supernatural creature. Both franchises are based on a group of people being culled till the final character has to battle the monster alone. And in both franchise the victims cannot expect help from outside, or when they do it comes with a devastating cost to those trying to help them. I'm just hoping Greg McLean doesn't have Mick travelling to either New York City or Outer Space in the distant future! Something to mull over folks, and added bonus is McLean recognises the whole "final girl" thing is a load of bollock being perpetrated by people who will believe anything they read.
But back to WC2, the reason we're here right? As expected Mick Taylor takes full toll on anyone who ventures into the Australian Outback around the Wolf Creek National Park, and shows a particular loathing toward foreign tourists. Okay Mick does tally up four locals, but on both occasions there are reasons to do so (in Mick's mind), and it doesn't break the narrative energy McLean has going down. I was wondering if maybe writers McLean and Sterns were having a dig at the currently xenophobic foreign policy of the Tony Abbott Government, with Mick representing the redneck slogan devouring constituent Abbott's campaigning aims to attract. Okay might be reading a bit much into things there, the simple truth might be Mick doesn't like foreigners and is an equal opportunity hater in doing so.
Mick Taylor is destined to be one of Australia's greatest horror icon, a true blue Psycho from Downunder
I'm going to admit the movie is brutal in parts, but nowhere near as brutal as detractors are making out. We get gunshots to the head, knife work, and a couple of fingers falling prey to a wielded angle grinder. McLean shows an adept ability to make the audience believe they are seeing more than they think they are seeing. For some viewers the most gruelling aspect of the movie however might well be a mob of kangaroos that fall foul of a truck Mick is pursuing final dude Paul in, or the stack of bodies Mick is allowing to decay away in his underground liar. I'm not about to tell you this movie is for your maiden Aunt, but most action and horror fans are going to be cool with the blood work, loved Mick's comment about a flying Roo, cue general laughter from the audience I attended a screening with.
Which brings me to the humour McLean and Sterns interweave into their movie, okay a lot of that would be black humour, but you takes what you can get in the horror genre. Mick Taylor is dropping a lot of one liners, and the scene with Paul tied to a barber's chair as Mick plays his mind games is simply surprising and full of mirthful malice. Slight spoiler here, move to the next paragraph if you want to go into WC2 with your cherry intact, when Paul clobbers Mick with a hammer then spits out at Mick "It's Don Bradman bitch!" the entire audience erupted in cheers at my session. I hadn't realised it but the audience were siding with Paul, a pommie, over Mick an Outback legend! Is that un-Australian or simply the audience wanting the victims to hit back. Anyways Mick takes it all in good humour, and then gets his knife out as Paul flees into the seemingly endless tunnels Mick calls home. For readers of the two prequel novels, there are a couple of items that will have you immediately grinning.
I had two problems with WC2, neither of which proved to be a deal breaker. Firstly the title cards at the start of the movie looked awfully familiar, and I believe were also used at the start of Wolf Creek. As regular readers know I've got a problem with movies pertaining to be based on true events, when they aren't and could be argued to be taking advantage of real life tragedies. Australia has its fair share of psychopaths; McLean is simply dialling in a couple of still topical cases from NSW and the Northern Territory. My second problem with the movie was the abrupt ending, you will not see it coming, it works, but sort of leaves you with an "is that it" feeling. I was actually surprised WC2 ran for 106 minutes, it felt more like 30 minutes, a good sign the movie was working its magic.
As expected the acting was universally good from both the leads and the supporting cast. John Jarrett (Mick Taylor) was once again bankable and delivered a menacing character with recognisable quirks. And Ryan Corr (Paul Hammersmith) is excellent as the cocky Brit tourist who is both shattered by his experiences in the Aussie outback and up to playing Mick's games. McLean knows how to get the best out of his cast, and to be honest I can't see anyone complaining about this aspect of the movie.
I'm also giving two thumbs up for the soundtrack that had some awesomely appropriate tunes that helped to develop the visuals McLean had happening. Not going to give anything away but you will be grooving to the music, and yes I believe a Slim Dusty track does get play time.
I was slightly irritate that Greg McLean dropped two minutes from the movie in order to achieve an M15+ rating here in Oz, but in all honesty it isn't going to impact your enjoyment of the movie. As expected Mick is brutal, a larrikin, someone who puts the psycho in psychopath, but McLean does give him a more than adequate adversary which rocked the house down. I was expecting a movie full of violent imagery, and McLean delivers on that, but thankfully doesn't cross the line into gorenography, the torture scene is both necessary and isn't implied, so get ready to wash the blood out of your clothes. McLean's Wolf Creek 2 could well be the best psycho movie of the year, Mick Taylor remains menacing and thankfully for the movie going public still out there. Full recommendation, if you enjoyed the first Wolf Creek movie then you are going to rock out to the sequel, rather than adding more of the same McLean is taking it in new directions. Is Wolf Creek this decade's Friday the 13th? Oh hell no, Wolf Creek is an infinitely better franchise based on what I've seen in the first two movies.