Saturday 6 January 2024

Wolf Creek (2005)

Here’s another teen slasher-flick that I’d not seen before, the creation of Greg McLean. Supposedly based on a true story, but actually when you dig further into that it’s not at all. More like Fargo’s “Based on a <True> Story” really. So now we’re free to consume it as simply a drama/thriller/horror!

It’s the story of three back-packers heading off across Australia to visit Wolf Creek (the site of a Meteor which hit the earth historically), two British girls (Liz and Kirsty) and one Australian bloke (Ben). We spend some time getting to know them at the outset, and are encouraged to like them, before their trip to the landmark. And for half the film, nothing much really happens as we tag along and enjoy their company. There’s a little side-story about two of them falling for each other which encourages the (unknowing) viewer to think that this is a simple road-trip/romcom almost!

They get to the landmark, then their car won’t start, so they get settled in to spend the night. Along comes a truck with a beefy Aussie bloke (Mick), headlights all over his ‘macho’ rig, offering to help them out in the dark and rain. He gives the grateful trio a tow to his compound, some miles away, where he sets about entertaining them with tales around the camp fire - and seemingly drugging them - as they wake up later bound and gagged and… well I won’t go into details, but it’s clear that our rescuing hero is a bit of a fruit-loop as violence and mayhem erupts!

When they wake up, the film radically changes from a nice little road-trip gone wrong into a dark and nasty thriller with little left to the imagination, in terms of what is done to whom and how. So buckle in! There are some ‘conveniences’ and plot-holes left to apparent chance and the odd unlikely outcome but generally these can be ignored in lieu of the thrill-ride.

The acting is generally very good from the three kids, more than convincing throughout, even (or especially) when they enter the arena of chaos and the Mick character is decently portrayed too. John Jarratt (Picnic at Hanging Rock, Django Unchained) he is, having great fun, unleashed by the director/writer. I don’t really know any of the actors well, I’m afraid - Nathan Phillips (Snakes on a Plane, Chernobyl Diaries) being Ben, Cassandra Magrath, Liz and Kestie Morassi as Kristy, but as I say, they all do a splendid job.

The film works really well overall with thrills aplenty and violence and dark deeds left, right and centre. It’s gory and grizzly at times but never unbelievable, given the starting point of the notion surrounding the tale. I really enjoyed it and look forward to seeing Wolf Creek 2 and the TV Series spin-off which, apparently, takes a similar theme throughout as our loonie picks off one tourist per episode! Eeek!

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