Wolf Creek 2

Year: 2013
Production Co: Duo Art Productions/Emu Creek
Director: Greg Mclean
Writer: Greg Mclean/Aaron Sterns
Cast: John Jarratt

The first Wolf Creek worked because it was a small, intimate tale that zeroed in on the knife twisting into the skin and the cable tie tightening around the wrist. The character of Mick Taylor (John Jarratt) was perfect in that environment, the same darkened, desolate and ironically claustrophobic outback as Razorback.

There was an almost unavoidable danger in making a sequel, because it was inevitable writer/director Greg Mclean would have to go bigger purely by virtue of the fact that he wouldn't want to make the same movie again.

But as Wolf Creek proved, Mick's menace and threat only work really well when you're locked in a cage with him, not so much when he's following you around the whole outback. Firstly, it gives the action too many chances to turn ridiculous, like the people trying to outrun Taylor as he chances them across the outback at night. Surely someone would get the idea of (for example) simply stopping and turning around rather than trying to stay precious feet ahead of him, even more useless in the endless miles of desert than it would be anywhere else.

But secondly and more importantly, Taylor isn't quite as scary when his intended victims have the whole desert to flee into. He manages to find them again every time through a series of extraordinarily unexplained coincidences (which is a credibility problem in itself) but in the first film it was terrifying because the victims woke up already in the clutches of a madman, mice being played with by a cat instead of prey who's scent is drawing a lion.

Not that the film doesn't come close to giving Mick the same impact. Even outside in broad daylight he's a deliciously nasty character, as evidenced when the film opens and two bored cops pull him over to try to run him out of the state. Big mistake – he proves himself to be as good a shot as ever and as coldly maniacal in his vengeance.

He first targets two German backpackers but when fate delivers a British backpacker into his hands, he changes focus to the helpless young man, chasing him across the rocky, dusty landscapes from one escape to the next before Mick has him in his subterranean hellhole.

If the original film had never existed this would be a pretty ordinary horror movie, albeit with a larger than life anti-hero. But after the physical gut punch of that movie, this is a lesser effort.

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