Wolf Creek 2 (Greg McLean, 2013)
Terrifying. I’ve never been much of a horror movie fan, although I have always been intrigued by psychopaths and serial killers (I’m totally not a weirdo though). I saw the first Wolf Creek (Greg McLean, 2005) only because someone asked me to go with them, and I found it horrific. A large part of me did not want to see the sequel (even the ad on TV was freaking me out) but a tiny part of me was intrigued to see what would unfold. Early on in the film, I was somewhat regretting that choice. And I did consider walking out which is something I never do. But I didn’t. My friend and I sat it out (hands in front of faces) until the bitter end. And then I made my Dad pick me up from the train station because I was too scared to walk home alone in the dark.
The basic plot is similar to that of the original. John Jarratt stars as Mick Taylor, outback serial killer. He’s terrifying because he’s so familiar. He’s that typical Aussie larrikin who delights in racist jokes and leers at women. Often pretty harmless but not so here. He has a MEGA-creepy laugh. The film begins by telling us that it is “based on actual events” which seems a bit questionable. It follows this up with some stats about missing people, namely that ten percent are never seen again. Oh god, it’s already scary and it hasn’t even started yet! Additional characters include a young German couple backpacking across Australia (Shannon Ashlyn and Phillipe Klaus), and a young British man (Ryan Corr). Mick really hates foreigners. Though he doesn’t seem to realise that he descends from British blood himself. Bit of a moron really. Don’t tell him I said that.
I’m not exaggerating when I say I am easily traumatised by horror films. Even Roald Dahl’s The Witches (Nicolas Roeg, 1990) still haunts me to this day. Anjelica Houston as the terrifying Grand High Witch, along with the evil aunts from James and the Giant Peach (Henry Selick, 1996), gave me nightmares for months as a kid, to the point where I developed OCD-like symptoms where I had to arrange all of my soft toys around my bed as a fort so that I wouldn’t be murdered in my sleep. These are KIDS movies I’m talking about. At least with horror films, you can usually feel somewhat assured in the fact that they are highly implausible – I don’t believe in paranormal activity, giant freak spiders (though I would NEVER put myself through any movie containing those), monsters, or even witches. But I do believe in creepy Australian serial killers in the outback. We KNOW they exist (Ivan Milat, Bradley Murdoch, etc.) This film is certainly not going to do any favours for Aussie tourism. Although, if I’m not mistaken there was even a bit of a nod to past Australian tourism campaigns, but in the scariest way (“Where the bloody hell do you think you’re going?”). The moral of the story is clear: never hitchhike or camp in the middle of nowhere. Unless you want to die a cruel and painful death.
John Jarratt mentioned in a recent interview that the audience will find themselves laughing at some of Mick’s outrageous comments and will then feel shocked for doing so. I only laughed at one thing he said, and that’s because he was bagging Shane Warne, and who doesn’t love that? Maybe racist Aussie blokes would find a bit more to laugh at. The best line of all was from Ryan Corr – another cricket reference. That was my favourite part of the whole film. You’ll know the bit I mean when/if you see it. I LOVE RYAN CORR. I was very invested in his survival. Like DESPERATE for him to survive. I won’t give away his fate here though, obviously. I was SO ON EDGE throughout this film. To its credit though, there was some good juxtaposition between the terrifying moments and some relatively calmer scenes, although you knew the shit could hit the fan at any minute so it didn’t help the nerves too much. I have to wonder, why do some people love the horror genre so much? It is not something to be enjoyed. I had to keep checking my watch to see how much torture was still left to go. I was relieved when it ended and my friend and I chatted for a bit until some scary music started up and we got the hell out of there.
I had to keep reminding myself that John Jarratt is the guy from Play School. But if I ever see him in the street I will RUN FOR MY LIFE. And I hate running. He certainly plays the role convincingly. I think they should do a prequel next, where they show Mick’s childhood and how he became a serial killer. But I don’t know if that’s all too obvious. I’m 99% sure he had an abusive father (a racist and misogynistic one of course) who beat his mother and taught him how to hunt. But it would be interesting to see how he went from killing animals to killing his first human and building his lair. Do I really want to see that though? Not really. But kind of.
Look, it was a well-made film. It had just the right amount of gore and terror without being over the top. The acting was great. The character of Mick was terrifyingly real. The cinematography was pretty impressive in parts. The score undercut the tension well. And it stays with you. But if you don’t want to be scared shitless, don’t see this film. The night that I saw this I had trouble sleeping and then I had a nightmare that I was kidnapped. This is like The Witches all over again. Oh god. Why did I do this to myself? If you do dare venture to this film, just remember: HE’S FROM PLAY SCHOOL, HE’S FROM PLAY SCHOOL, HE’S FROM PLAY SCHOOL.