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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Day 213: Wolf Creek

Wolf Creek
Please note: The movie contains no wolves or creeks

Based on a true story/Based on true events. There are countless horror movies with that tag line, but what does it really mean? It is so vague that it can be stand for just about anything. Some movies take a story from real life and adapt it directly. Other movies take the basis of a story and tweak it to their needs. Finally, there are movies that have the “based on a true story” tag and just make everything up. Either way, you still have to take any movie that uses that saying with a grain of salt. Rarely do they come out exactly like the true story and you can only hope to be entertained.

Wolf Creek is a 2005 independent horror movie from Australia starring Nathan Phillips (Chernobyl Diaries, Snakes On A Plane) as Ben Mitchell, Kestie Morassi (Darkness Falls, Dirty Deeds) as Kristy Earl and Cassandra Magrath (SeaChange, Crash Zone) as Liz Hunter. Kristy and Liz are two British tourists traveling through Australia was a local named Ben. The travel to Wolf Creek National Park, a remote part of Australia where a meteorite struck the Earth. Ben and Liz sneak off and kiss each other. Later, when the group returns to the car, they discover that all their watches have stopped. When they try to leave, the car no longer starts. Ben mentions that there had been UFO sightings in the past and the meteorite may have something to do with their electronics no longer working. As night falls, an outback-style man named Mick Taylor (John Jarratt, Australia, Django Unchained) arrives and offers to tow their car to his home to repair it. Initially, they are charmed by Mick who tells them tales of living in the remote area of Australia. He offers them “rainwater” to drink which drugs the group, knocking them out. Liz awakens, tied up in a shed. She frees herself with a shard of glass and is able to escape. Before she can leave, though, she hears Kristy being tortured by Mick in a nearby building. Liz creates a diversion and shoots Mick in the neck with his rifle. Liz and Kristy try to escape in a car, but are pursued by a wounded, but still alive Mick. Kristy hides while Liz tries to find another car to steal. She discovers the possessions of countless people who have been killed and tortured by Mick. She finds camcorders that replay almost the same scenario that they have endured. With Mick in pursuit, how will Liza and Kristy be able to survive and where is Ben?

"There's no creek? You monster!"

The movie is based on the abduction and assault of two British tourists in the Northern Territory of Australia in 2001. The entire movie is not based on that story and people familiar with the actual events shouldn't expect things to play out that way. Think of it in the same way that The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is based on true events. The movie takes a long time to set up with the action not kicking in until about 50 minutes in. This all could have been taken care of within about 25 minutes, but they stretched it out for some unknown reason. It's not like the built up the characters or anything important. We don't know much about Ben, Kristy, and Liz which is unfortunate because if they were better developed, the audience would have felt more for them other than just seeing them being brutalized and tortured. While I'm not a fan of torture movies, Wolf Creek does not overdue it when it comes to violence. Sure there are some gruesome scenes and a good amount of blood, but it never crossed the line into “torture porn,” gleefully showing horrific scenes just to gross-out the audience.

John Jarratt is fantastic as Mick, almost to a fault. He is so charmingly evil that he overtakes the movie and is far more interesting to watch then the main characters. He is almost too good and almost had me cheering for him through his sheer force of will in trying to kill people. At first, I was happy to see the focus on the two female characters fighting back against their male assailant, but was utterly disappointed at how things turned out. They have flairs of good revenge, but spend far too much time screaming to be true heroes. It's almost as if they completely forgot about Ben until the last 10 minutes of the movie. I just assumed, along with most of the audience, that he was dead. Other than the scenes of torture, there really isn't much of a plot or purpose to Wolf Creek. The movie comes off as a vehicle to show the directorial skills of Greg McLean. He does a fine job with good action shots and some decent scenes of horror.

The son of Crocodile Dundee and Gene Simmons

Wolf Creek is a by-the-numbers capture-and-torture horror movies. It had a lot of potential and could have gone in many different and creative directions, but unfortunately did not. The movie takes far too long to get to the point and skips over important character development and foreshadowing. John Jarratt is great in his role, but the movie almost makes him too awesome. I don't want to be cheering for the evil psychopath when I don't have to. There some rough scenes of torture and blood, but the movie doesn't go over-the-top. I've seen some critics praise Wolf Creek and can't understand for the life of me were they are coming from. It is thoroughly uninspired, which is surprising, considering it is inspired by true events. How is that even possible?



  1. Hi, I loved your blog and reviews, I've been guiding my movie choices through your ratings for a longtime now and I was hardly ever disappointed ! :)
    Could you watch " The Woman " and make a review about it ?

  2. Thank you for the kind words, it really means a lot to me. I can give "The Woman" a shot, though a friend has already told me that he did not like it.