WOLF CREEK (2005)
Wolf Creek is a very effective Australian horror flick that finds it’s roots in some real and chilling events. The film starts off with three young friends, Liz (Cassandra Magrath), Kristy (Kestie Morassi) and Ben (Nathan Philips) taking a road trip to Australia’s Wolf Creek Crater National Park. But the car Ben just bought breaks down unexpectedly and they are forced to stay the night. They are awoken in the middle of the night by an approaching truck driven by the eccentric but seemingly helpful Mick (John Jarratt). The handyman takes them back to his home in the middle of nowhere and gives them some water and tells them he’ll have the car fixed and they will be on their way by morning. But the rescue turns into a nightmare as Liz awakens to find that they have been drugged and she is now bound and gagged in a storeroom. Upon escaping, she finds Kristy being tormented and raped by the psychotic Mick and Ben nowhere to be found. Now it becomes a fight for life as Liz must somehow find a way to rescue her friends and escape the deranged and dangerous madman.
Wolf Creek is very effectively directed by Greg McLean from his own script. He takes a fair amount of time setting up the story, but this helps as we get to know and like our young leads very well and even get to know Mick a little before the nightmare begins. He gives us just enough gruesomeness to establish how twisted and dangerous Mick is, before turning the film into more of a suspenseful chase film with our young ladies fleeing for their lives with the psychotic Mick in hot pursuit. McLean gives us some nice information along the way to give us insights into Mick’s background and within the context of the story, we are allowed to see evidence that clearly this lunatic has been doing this for quite sometime and to quite a lot of people. And also that his encounter with the 3 may not have been coincidence after all. The fact that the film opens with stats on how many people disappear in the outback each year, gives chilling resonance to what Liz finds when poking around Mick’s digs. The cast all support McLean’s vision well with Jarrett being very formidable and creepy as serial killer Mick Taylor and Magrath as the plucky and determined heroine, Liz. McLean gives us a really intense last act to bring his tale of horror to it’s conclusion and a chilling conclusion it is.
Overall, a very effective little horror that’s only held back somewhat by the fact that the crazy redneck scenario has been done so often and the film does take quite some time to get going. Otherwise McLean takes these familiar trappings and makes them work quite well in this Australian twist to the backwoods maniac sub-genre.
3 solid looney Australian serial killers!