HORROR TV YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: WOLF CREEK season 2 (2017)

MZNJ_New_HYMHM_2

now playing

bars

WOLF CREEK season 2 (2017)

(Clicking the highlighted links brings you to corresponding reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)

Wolf Creek is a cult classic 2005 Australian horror from writer/director Greg McLean that introduced the world to homicidal Outback redneck Mick Taylor (John Jarratt). The film gained notoriety, but took till 2013 to produce a sequel and now, has brought us two seasons of an episodic web show. This second season finds a group of people on an Outback safari tour crossing paths with the Down Under psychopath. Mick hijacks the tour bus into the middle of nowhere and begins to hunt and slaughter it’s occupants as they fight to survive the harsh wilderness.

Second season is again six episodes with Wolf Creek creator Greg McLean once more returning to direct episodes and produce. The series continues to follow the dark, gritty, but more grounded tone of the original film, which made it so effective. Like the first season, it does feel a bit like a movie plot stretched out over five hours, but it manages it’s time well enough to never feel boring or repetitive. The added time of a mini-series let’s us get to know Mick’s potential victims very well, so they are more than just serial killer fodder. The show can be violent and brutal at times, but never goes over the top or gets campy. Mick is as intimidating as ever, with his off-color vulgarity and deranged sense of humor just making him even more disturbing. Where the first season was a story or retribution and revenge, this one is a tale of survival, as Mick strands the tourists in the middle of nowhere setting them against the elements and after a while, each other. Not to mention he’s constantly stalking them and anyone that comes in contact with them. As such, there are some innocents caught in the crossfire, like some Aborigine tribesman and a family living in an abandoned mining complex. It’s a bloody and effective journey till the inevitable showdown back at Mick’s lair, which has a few surprises waiting for us.

The cast are all good and once again we get an assortment of offbeat characters, like the strong-willed Rebecca (Tess Haubrich), criminal psychologist Brian (Matt Price), tattooed lesbian Kelly (Laura Wheelwright) and German tourists Oskar (Julian Pulvermacher) and Nina (Felicity Price). John Jarratt still plays Mick Taylor with the usual viciousness, intensity and gusto. He can play this role in his sleep at this point, but most certainly doesn’t as the character still disturbs us intensely.

In conclusion, the second season maintained the quality of the first season and gave us a different story with all new characters aside from Mick. Sure, it still feels like a movie plot stretched out over a longer running time, but managed it’s time a bit better, so less sequences felt like filler. It was intense at times and bloody and there was some nice suspense as Mick methodically thins the heard. Serial killer Mick Taylor hasn’t warn out his welcome yet and if there is a season three…and I won’t spoil if this season leaves us with that possibility…as Mick would say, I reckon I’d have to tune in!

Wolf Creek: The Series is available on the streaming service Stan.

EPISODE LIST

  1. Journey – directed by Greg McLean and written by Nick Parsons
  2. Outback – directed by Greg McLean and written by Shanti Gudgeon
  3. Chase – directed by Kieran Darcy-Smith and written by Nick Parsons
  4. Singing – directed by Kieran Darcy-Smith and written by Mark Dapin & Greg Haddrick
  5. Shelter – directed by Geoff Bennett and written by Shanti Gudgeon
  6. Return – directed by Geoff Bennett and written by Mark Dapin & Greg Haddrick

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated a solid 3 Micks.
wolf creek rating

 

 

bars

HORROR TV YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: WOLF CREEK season 1 (2016)

MZNJ_New_HYMHM_2

now playing

wolf-creek-series

bars

WOLF CREEK season 1 (2016)

(Clicking the highlighted links brings you to corresponding reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)

Wolf Creek was a disturbing 2005 flick from Aussie director Greg McLean that introduced the horror community to psychopathic Australian redneck Mick Taylor (John Jarratt). The film produced a sequel nine years later in 2014 and now, a six part mini-series with episodes directed by Ash vs Evil Dead’s Tony Tilse and McLean himself. The story finds an RV crossing the Outback with an American tourist family, The Thorogoods, stopping for the night and encountering Mick. The vicious psychopath brutally slaughters all of them…or so he thinks. Teen daughter Eve (Lucy Fry) survives the carnage and decides to hunt down the murderous Mick and exact some paypack, despite protestations of a handsome police officer (Dustin Clare). Her journey towards revenge puts her in contact with some of the best…and worst…of the Outback’s citizenry, on her collision course with Mick Taylor.

This Australian web series has episodes written, alternatively, by Peter Gawler and Felicity Packard and thankfully returns to the more grounded violence and brutality of the first film, whereas Wolf Creek 2 got a bit too over-the-top for it’s own good. Mick Taylor has been returned more to the brutal psychopath that made him so scary in the first flick with his one-liners and demented cackling kept effective by not being taken too overboard. The tone is gritty and a slow burn as Eve makes some interesting allies and meets some morally questionable individuals while she tracks down the elusive Mick. At the same time Mick encounters more lambs for the slaughter, including some of the individuals that Eve unintentionally draws into the conflict and onto his radar. There are some very disturbing scenes and the first five episodes are well directed by Tilse, who paces them moderately as this is leading up to an eventual showdown. McLean returns to the director’s chair for the final episode where American teen takes on Aussie madman and it’s as good as the best moments of the first two theatrical flicks. If the series has a weakness, it’s that the basic story doesn’t seem to warrant over five hours to tell. We do get the feeling that some of it is filler and that a tighter two hour movie might have told the tale more effectively. We do find out more about Mick’s past and what turned him into the maniac he is. We also get some very brutal sequences as Eve gets toughened up to face Mick and Mick continues to illustrate why we should root for Eve. The film makes very good use of the desolate Outback locations and populates them with some interesting and unsettling characters. The violence level will not disappoint fans of the films and most likely neither will this series, when all is said and done, even if it does feel like a movie stretched out at times.

The cast are all effective and create an assortment of offbeat characters that Eve and Mick wade through. John Jarratt is disturbing, once more, as Mick Taylor. The actor really does good work in having Mick come off first, as an eccentric country bumpkin to disarm his potential victim’s and then chills us to the bone when the inner murderer is released. He plays Mick with demented gusto, but with the help of director and scripts, he is restrained enough to avoid the over-the-top parody that Mick became in the film series sequel. Lucy Fry holds her own in both character and performance with her co-star. She gives us a strong teen who is not going home without finding out who killed her family and wounded her…and making them pay. If the extend time given the story accomplishes anything over six episodes, it is watching Eve grow in anger, tenacity and determination as she begins to realize she is hunting an elusive monster. When she and Mick finally meet, we have no problem believing that this little lady is going to bring it to Wolf Creek’s residing serial killer…and bring it she does. Dustin Clare is good as Officer Hill, who is one of Eve’s few friends in this untamed part of the world. The actor conveys both authority and compassion as a man sympathetic to Eve, yet obviously, bound by the law he upholds to try and stop her…and catch Mick at the same time. The supporting cast are all effective in creating an eclectic group of Outback residents both friend and foe.

Overall, I recommend this series to fans of McLean’s first two theatrical adventures of psychopathic Aussie, Mick Taylor. While the story did feel a bit like a movie plot stretched out over six episodes, there are plenty of effective and brutal moments and the tone returns to the more gritty and disturbing tone of the original film. The pace is a purposeful slow burn and our leading lady becomes quite formidable by the time she goes one on one with Mick. The character of Mick Taylor is once again the more heinous maniac he was in the first film, with excessive theatrics and one-liners left behind for a more unsettling return to the character’s roots. There is talk of a season two and I am curious where they go with it.

wolf-creek-series-image

EPISODE LIST

  1. Billabonge – directed by Tony Tilse and written by Peter Gawler
  2. Kutyukutyu – directed by Tony Tilse and written by Felicity Packard
  3. Salt Lake – directed by Tony Tilse and written by Peter Gawler
  4. Opalville – directed by Tony Tilse and written by Felicity Packard
  5. Rome – directed by Tony Tilse and written by Peter Gawler
  6. Wolf Creek – directed by Greg McLean and written by Felicity Packard

-MonsterZero NJ

3 Micks.
wolf creek rating

 

 

 

bars

HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: WOLF CREEK 2 (2013)

MZNJ_New_HYMHM_2

now playing

WOLF-CREEK-2-poster_1280x864

bars

WOLF CREEK 2 (2013)

It’s been almost 9 years since writer/director Greg McLean unleashed psychotic Outback maniac Mick Taylor on the horror film world with his disturbing and very effective Wolf Creekbut finally McLean returns to the character that got him some well-earned attention. But while Mick is back, I felt the effectiveness and gritty and frightening realism of the first flick is not, as this sequel is basically a series of gory, over-the-top vignettes that are tied together with the thinest of stories and Mick has already become a parody of himself as with other film maniacs like Krueger and Voorhees.

Sequel starts out with two Australian highway patrolmen making the fatal mistake of harassing ‘redneck’ Mick Taylor (John Jarratt) over a fabricated speeding offense and finding out the hard and gruesome way that this was a big mistake. The film then focuses for about a 1/2 hour on a couple of German tourists Katarina and Rutger (Shannon Ashlyn and Phillipe Klaus) hitchhiking across the Outback and wandering into the Wolf Creek Crater area which is Mick’s domain and obviously crossing path’s with the sadistic cannibal with gory results. The film then segues to British tourist Paul (Ryan Corr) who almost literally runs into Katarina while driving through the area and the rest of the film becomes a Mad Max/ torture porn hybrid as Mick pursues Paul across the wilderness then torments the young British man back at his torture chamber/ lair. Yea, ummm… pick a story or main character will ya, mate!

I won’t say Wolf Creek 2 is badly made or directed, it’s not. On a technical level it is very strong. Taken individually the scenes are well staged and effective, especially the Road Warrior segment of the film, but it’s when you try to add these segments together into a complete movie that you realize this flick has no real story. It’s practically an anthology film patched together to showcase the homicidal and sadistic antics of Mick and by taking almost an hour to decide on a main character, we have no character focus until then, save Mick and the random situations he’s put in to allow him to slaughter. And another thing that bothered me is that McLean and Aaron Sterns’ script not only lacks focus, but turns Mick from a very gritty and frighteningly real psychopathic character to a one liner spewing almost parody of himself, who will gleefully engage in a sing-a-long with a potential victim with the same gusto which he then removes said victim’s fingers with a sander. He’s like a an Outback version of The Joker or an Aussie Freddy Krueger instead of the chillingly realistic madman that creeped us out the first time. That Mick was scary because he was believable, this over the top Mick could only exist in a movie and, while Jarratt is certainly having a blast with him, he’s reduced to the same kind of demented, entertaining anti-hero that Freddy and Jason became in their later flicks…and he’s placed in a film that is far more interested in showing off his routine then actually telling a frightening story. There are some very effective scenes, but when strung together, a complete film it barely makes and while the first film was not subtle, it used it’s bloodletting wisely. Here blood and body parts fly with almost Re-animator like abandon from almost the first scene…not that I mind a good gore-fest, but it goes against the more grounded tone of Wolf Creek part 1.

The two leads are actually very good. Jarratt is really having a good time taking the sadistic rapist/murderer/cannibal way over the top and the character is entertaining in a twisted way, though completely abandons the aura of being a realistic lunatic that one might actually meet in an out-of-the way place, or lonely road. He chews up the scenery with the same enthusiasm that he carves up his victims and while it works on one level, it makes a caricature out of someone we came to fear and despise in the first film, on another. He only seems like his old self in his scenes with the pretty Katarina and that only lasts for about ten minutes. Ryan Corr gives us a sympathetic character in Paul who, once the film settles down and focuses on it’s central victim, makes a good sparring partner with Mick as, despite being frightened out of his mind, he tries to outwit and escape his deranged captor. It’s too bad we didn’t get more time to get to know him, but Corr does good in creating a likable character with limited intro time. The two work well together and it’s sad that the film takes over an hour to get these two engaged in their game of cat and mouse that is waged both mentally and physically. The film only really locks it in then, even though it basically becomes a routine torture torment show once this happens and that is nothing new at this point. The rest of the cast are generic victims who we barely get to know and only serve as Mick fodder till the film finally decides where it wants to go in it’s last act.

So, despite being well acted and well directed, Wolf Creek 2 is an effective series of vignettes that fail to come together to make an equally effective film. It’s a film as schizophrenic as it’s star psycho that takes far too long to find it’s focus and thus draw us in and then it’s over too quickly and with a very unsatisfying climax. While Jarratt gives a strong performance, his Mick is turned from a grounded and frighteningly realistic psychopath to a joke cracking, sadistic oddball that is almost a parody of the Mick from the first film. Greg McLean is a talented filmmaker, but here he got a little too giddy with unleashing his most famous creation back on movie audiences and forgot that Mick’s antics need a strong story to be showcased in to be effective as they were the first time round. Brutally entertaining, but not scary, nor will it stay with you after the credits roll like the first film.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 and 1/2 Micks.

wolf creek 2 rating

 

bars

A TRAILER ARRIVES FOR THE LONG AWAITED ‘WOLF CREEK 2!’

MZNJ_NEW_news

wolf-creek-2-poster-alt

It’s been almost 10 years since Greg McLean’s intense horror Wolf Creek introduced us to Outback nutjob Mick Taylor (John Jarratt) but now Mick and director McLean are back to terrify us again with Wolf Creek 2 which is scheduled to open in Australia in 02/2014. There is no US release date yet, but, it probably won’t be long till we get one. Check it out below to watch the intense trailer in the meantime…

bars

HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: WOLF CREEK (2005)

MZNJ_New_HYMHM_2

now playing

wolf creek poster

bars

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.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 solid looney Australian serial killers!

wolf creek rating

bars