Wolf Creek follows three friends, Liz (Cassandra Magrath), Kristy (Kestie Morassi), and Ben (Nathan Phillips), as they take off on a vacation to Wolf Creek National Park to check out the place where a meteor left a huge crater in the Australian Outback. Why they want to go to such a desolate place when they seem to be club-hopping party animals isnt really explained, but thats okay. To each his own form of amusement.
The threesome is pretty tight-knit and a fun group to get to know as they make the long drive out to Wolf Creek. But once our heroes arrive at Wolf Creek, briefly explore the crater on a drizzly day, and then head back to the car to find better accommodations, the proverbial you know what hits the fan. The car wont start. Theyre stuck in the middle of nowhere and they dont have any means of contacting help.
After deciding its best to just bed down in the car for the night, their sleep is interrupted by what appears to be a very helpful stranger whos not only willing to give them a tow, hes also willing to fix their car. No quicker than you can say, theres something fishy going on, the stranger (played by John Jarratt) drugs the group, revealing the wolf hidden under sheeps clothing as he methodically tortures poor Liz, Kristy and Ben.
The brutality and carnage in Wolf Creek is meant to shock us. The very graphic displays of mutilations and killings are horrific but for horror fans who grew up on the classic American horror films from the 70s, theres a sense of déjà vu that hangs over the movie that lessens the shock value of what appears onscreen.
Maybe Wolf Creek will thrill horror newbies who havent experienced Texas Chainsaw Massacre or other films of that ilk. Writer/director Greg McLean does, at times, do a terrific job of building up the suspense. But far too often the easy road is taken when going for broke and having his characters act like youd expect people in these terrifying circumstances to, would have made for a far more interesting film. After building up the threesome as an intelligent group, they lose brain cells at an alarmingly rapid rate when placed in jeopardy. It would be nice to just once in a while see a crazed killer movie where the female victims get free, run away and keep running.
Wolf Creek contains scenes that are genuinely creepy and spine-tingling thrilling, but overall this low-budget digital film feels a lot like its retracing familiar territory. Weve seen it all before. Is there really a reason, other than the fact this movies set in Australia instead of somewhere in rural United States, to retell the same crazed killer slashes up pretty young things in a sadistic manner story? Not really. Not unless its done with more wit or some other key ingredient that sets it apart from the rest of the genre. Unfortunately for all, Wolf Creek is content to just run with the pack.
Wolf Creek was directed by Greg McLean and is rated R for strong gruesome violence, and for language.