June 19, 2017

Movie Review: Wolf Creek 2

Way back in 2005 the screens were graced with a little movie called Wolf Creek. The film told the tale of an unfortunate group of tourists who entered the Australian Outback and never exited. It was a tale loosely based on an actual Australian serial killer and the movie proved to be quite satisfying, with its slow build and ever increasing sense of dread. The highlight was Mick Taylor, the resident killer, played like an offshoot of The Devil’s Rejects family by John Jarratt. The sequel took eight years to come out, but the wait was worth it. Wolf Creek 2 is a worthy follow up, taking what we know and just amping it all up. I may just like this one better.

Wolf Creek 2 was written and directed by Greg Mclean, who also spearheaded the original and is slated to return for a third outing into the Outback. In between the two Wolf Creek films he made the killer croc flick, Rogue. More recently he directed the awful The Darkness and the Battle Royale meets Office Space film The Belko Experiment from Guardians of the Galaxy mastermind James Gunn.

With this sequel the slow build of dread was scrapped in favor of something a bit more immediate and intense. Wolf Creek 2 seems to feed off of films like Mad Max, The Hitcher. and The Devil’s Rejects filtered through some real life fact and an Aussie sensibility. The result is a movie with a sense of immediacy, a grim energy that is given life through Mclean’s grim and highly detailed gritty photography. Wolf Creek 2 has a sense of scope in the gorgeous widescreen establishing shots. However, even with that, he is sure to remind us of horrific things going on as good old Mick sets out to clean up the Outback of tourists he sees as desecrating the land.

As the movie opens we are presented with a couple of opportunistic police officers looking to make sure they reach their quota. They target Mick as his old truck cruises down an empty highway through the expanse. All throughout the exchange, we, the audience knowing what Mick is capable of, watch and wait to see what he will do to the offending officers. It comes in an unexpected fashion and sets the table for what this sequel is going to be.

The scene shifts to a pair of German tourists backpacking through the Outback. We never really learn much about them, but they are a likable couple, making their ultimate fate that much more effective. We follow them as they hitch rides, walk, and camp where they have to. It is that fateful night that the initially affable Mick happens across them that their fate is sealed.

The Germans’ storey crosses paths with Paul Hammersmith (Ryan Corr), a British tourist who becomes our protagonist in the latter half of the film. Again, we do not learn all that much about him, but he still presents a likable and formidable adversary. It really is a credit to Mclean’s writing and direction that he is able to wring such suspense and empathy for characters we know next to nothing about. It is an impressive feat and just makes me like this movie more.

Where the first Wolf Creek was all slow burn dread up to the pay off, the sequel keeps the energy up and does not give you much time to breathe. There is no need to play the same games they did the first time around. He knows what we want, and that is John Jarratt front and center. That’s exactly what we get.. His performance is amazing and rather chilling. Jarratt gives Mick life and personality, an affability and menace. You never know what to expect from him and it is terrifying.

Wolf Creek 2 is a great sequel that improves on its predecessor in almost every way. The combination of road rage and close up gore, humor and menace, and characters to actually like. This is a movie to relish, to enjoy, to wallow in every blood soaked moment. My biggest regret is taking so long to see it.

Highly Recommended.

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