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Wolf Creek (2005)

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Wolf Creek (2005) – Three stranded backpackers in remote Australia fall prey to a murderous bushman who offers to fix their car, then takes them captive.

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I originally posted this review back in August, and only a couple of people read it. I feel the movie deserves a little more attention now a few more people stop by my site, so I present to you my original review with bigger images and all (I hope I got them all!) the rookie spelling mistakes fixed! Enjoy version 2.0!

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Wolf Creek is set in Australia in 1999 and revolves around two British tourists, Liz Hunter (Cassandra Magrath) and Kristy Earl (Kestie Morassi) who are backpacking across the country with Ben Mitchell (Nathan Phillips – Dying BreedChernobyl Diaries), an Australian friend. After a bit of partying at the beginning they continue on their journey towards the famous landmark Wolf Creek National Park, which contains a giant crater formed by a 50,000-ton meteorite.

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Once they visit the crater and return to their car they realise it wont start and set up camp in the hope some help passes by. Eventually their prayers are answered as a local man Mick Taylor (John Jarratt) finds them and offers to tow them to his camp to repair the car. After initial hesitation, the group allows Mick to take them to his place which they learn is an abandoned mining site several hours south of Wolf Creek. After a few drinks they get ready to sleep while the friendly Mick fixes their car. Then the true horror of the film begins as they wake the next day tied up and held hostage.

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We then join the friends as they try to escape, mainly following the plight of the girls and their attempt to escape the true terror of Mick. I can’t really say much more about the plot without giving the story away and ruining it. I will say that I was very impressed with the twists and turns in the story and it was nice to see a lead character actually being quite sensible and not freaking out in the situation she was in. Pushing vehicles off cliffs, hiding, distractions and explosions are just some of the methods of escape we see attempted. Cassandra Magrath was great in her role and really impressed me. There were a couple of things she could maybe of done differently which tends to be the main criticisms of the film on the IMDB forums, but overall I thought she did a great job. All 3 friends were believable and made me care for their ordeal and I wanted them to survive. For a low-budget feature the acting really was superb. None more so than the incredible performance shown by John Jarrett as Mick. What a great villain he turns out to be. Funny, eccentric but with a sadistic nature, he was so believable and such a great bad guy. He even threw in a Crocodile Dundee reference!

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Wolf Creek does have its flaws unfortunately. I was happy to overlook the majority of them as I really enjoyed the film. Yet a couple of times I found myself frustrated with something one of the friends failed to do. The age-old issue of the bad guy not being dead when he looks it was on show here, and maybe its just me but I’m pretty sure I would want to be 100% certain some guy trying to kill me was dead if I thought I’d killed him. Also, a scene involving the car garage seemed very unrealistic, for anyone that has seen the film you will know what I mean. Good guess-work perhaps? That was then followed by the best scene in he movie with a move Mick liked to call the head on a stick (that was very nearly the name I gave this site funnily enough.) Something I haven’t seen in a horror film before and maybe worth watching for that scene alone!

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Visually Wolf Creek looks great. We get some aerial shots of the crater (which is a real landmark) and they look stunning, mixed in with some great shots of the surrounding area to Mick’s camp which show just how desolate and barren it is. No wonder Mick has got away with doing this for so long. Everyone knows how big the outback is, and you can see why so many people go missing out there every year. The story is said to based on true events, but facts show it only had many influences from other murders around Australia, like the Ivan Milat Backpacker Murders and the Peter Falconio murder case.

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I thoroughly enjoyed Wolf Creek, and very highly recommend it. It does get a bit violent in parts, but nothing too graphic. Some of the action does look realistic and that’s maybe why people lump it in the torture porn category, but that is unfair and this film should not be dismissed in that way. It is a simple story in the sense that three backpackers are held hostage by a psycho and they try to escape, but Wolf Creek is just so damn good. Whilst you want them to escape the evil killer I couldn’t help but smile and listen to Mick as he is just so captivating and he owns this movie. The ending is good and not your typical Hollywood cop out and I can’t wait for Wolf Creek 2 which is scheduled for release later this year.

Ratings08

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44 Comments

  1. Yeah, I need to bite the bullet and finally see this one. Great reprise, Tyson.

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  2. theipc

     /  May 6, 2013

    Your one hit from the first time this came around………. me!! : )

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  3. I remember seeing this when I was a bit too young for it, the scars still remain, lol. Other than that I mostly know it from it’s standing as one of the few films of the past several decades to earn an “F” from audiences for its Cinemascore, which would normally prohibit the idea of any sequel being made for financial reasons. I’d definitely like to see where the go with the Wolf Creek 2 though, the first one certainly was terrifying. Good review

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    • I don’t know what Cinema score is but this was pretty well received critically if I remember rightly. Still, people either love it or hate it.

      Cheers buddy, hope you catch the sequel later this year 🙂

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      • I just saw this and thought I’d offer some info: From Wikipedia: “CinemaScore is a market research firm that surveys film audiences to rate their viewing experiences with letter grades, reports the results, and forecasts box office receipts based on the data.”

        It’s not about critical acclaim but more a valuable tool in predicting whether audiences like a film and if it will become a hit. Overall their track record is pretty spot on. Recently Fast and Furious 6 and Iron Man got A’s, The Big Wedding and Pain and Gain got C+’s. Scary Movie 5 got a C-. Their grades are usually heavily skewed towards A’s because the opening night audience are usually forgiving fans of the film. Therefore anything that gets less than say a B+ isn’t good. Needless to say an F is quite rare.

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        • Thanks for clearing that up Mark. Wow, that’s a pretty crappy score then!! Oh well, at least us few that liked it will get a sequel soon 🙂

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  4. Jess

     /  May 6, 2013

    Loved Wolf Creek! I saw it in theaters when it came out and have seen it several times since. I love the slow burn of the beginning and the brutality and suspense of the end. Usually I only hear mediocre praise or worse for the movie but I agree with you that it deserves better.

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  5. In many ways, it reminds me of the original THE VANISHING as it has the same chill factor that bends your head out of shape.

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  6. Yeah I thought this was another great Australian release! I think I would have gone higher on the score though, maybe 8 Heads??

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    • 8 would equal Martyrs or Frontiers and I didn’t love it quite as much. Just. Still loved it though. Cheers Chris 🙂

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  7. As I said (I’m fairly certain anyway) on the original – another we must agree to disagree on – I found this incredibly boring. Face Off? 😉

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  8. Seeing as I live in the same state where Wolf Creek was shot (and where the sequel is currently being filmed) – I should probably get off my ass and see this. Nice review TC. 🙂

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    • You still haven’t seen it?! More importantly go get me some scoops and photos from the sequel! 😉

      Cheers Greg 🙂

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  9. Ryan

     /  May 7, 2013

    I saw this when it was in theaters on New Years Day, so I was definitely hungover and possibly still a bit drunk-BUT-I was really ready for a good horror picture and this, well, huh. It wasn’t all bad, but it seemed like the first 30 minutes was literally these kids driving and stopping and getting out of the car and stretching. Realistic? Sure, but it didn’t make for fascinating cinema. Looking back, I think the scariest part of this film is that these poor kids really had no chance-even if they had told the friendly stranger no thanks, he probably would have come back and kidnapped them anyway. I’m glad you brought up the garage scene, as it elicited a huge laugh from me and my date, that really was incredible luck. But what got me was right before all that, she told her friend that if she wasn’t back in 5 minutes then to leave without her, then turns into Nancy Drew rather than just finding a key to a vehicle they could use to get the hell out of there. I realize the film makers (very fun and imaginative in later scenes) wanted to put in some backstory about how long this nutjob had been doing what he’s doing, but the sheer amount of vehicles would have done that already. Good review, I just couldn’t ignore the small details that you would usually only catch on multiple viewings.

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    • Yeah it seemed to set up the movie for a while, a lot of time with our 3 just chatting etc. The garage scene, I mean, everything felt quite realistic as such up until then, but it became almost a Halloween style moment. Shame.

      Thanks for commenting Ryan, appreciate it 🙂

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  10. I loved this film. Considering that it’s based on a high profile case in Aussie land, I though they did a pretty good job setting it up. I didn’t realise that they were doing a sequel! Great review mate!

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  11. You know my feelings on this one Mr Carter! 🙂

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  12. Mithil

     /  May 7, 2013

    I saw this long time back .. dont recollect much but i remember i was totaly taken by surprise. You are right .. its damn great entertainer. The one scene i particularly remember is the torture scene and ofcourse our Mr villian

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  13. Agree this is a great little horror. Remembering that bit with the “fingers” just now. Owch!

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  14. davecrewe

     /  May 9, 2013

    I mostly enjoyed the atmosphere of the movie, and I loved that it used believable (if fairly simple) protagonists you could develop real sympathy for – something few horror films have the time for lately, it seems! There are the occasional poor pieces of judgment in the film (from said protagonists), but nothing bad enough to turn me off the film entirely. That said, the abrupt finale seems like a plotline that either should have been fleshed out or – in my opinion – omitted entirely. It felt like something from a different film, especially the use of info-dump montages when the rest of the film had been a slow burn. Still, good flick.

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    • I thought the cast (well, the one girl mainly) was pretty smart and avoided most of the usual clichés. Except always make sure they are dead…….

      Agree on the ending, seemed tacked on and as you say very different to the rest of what had gone on. I would of liked to see more from the male perspective, but it sounds like the sequel will be a guys ordeal. Cheers Dave 🙂

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  15. This has been on my watchlist for years now, there are so few good horror movies nowadays that I think I’ll finally give in and watch it. That scene you said is something you never seen in horror before sounds intriguing, considering how pretty much everything in horror genre is cliches these days.

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    • Yep, the scene in question is apparently a technique actually used by torturers in war situations….. Certainly not seen it in a movie. Hope you like the film if you ever see it Sati 🙂

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  16. I also enjoyed this film (if that’s possible)! However, people in horror movies that don’t make doubly sure a bad guy is dead is a trope I wish would die a horrible death. Sever the spinal chord if needs be, just make sure he’s not gonna come back!

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    • I know, got to be sure!! Then there would be no horror films I guess 😉

      Cheers 🙂

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      • Imagine if people in horror movies did rational things. There would be no horror, you are right! I guess if a character does something stupid you are more likely to be like ‘oh, you are an idiot, now I don’t mind seeing you gutted’ or something.

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        • Every now and again its nice to see horror movie characters do logical rational things. Rare though. 🙂

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