Friday, April 25, 2014

The Outback Hunt Continues: Wolf Creek 2 (2013)

Wolf Creek 2 (Australia, 2013)
Rating: ****
Starring: John Jarratt, Ryan Corr, Shannon Ashlyn

How hard is it to follow-up an Ozploitation cult classic that gathered enough notoriety among the normies to have them walking off the theater and enough love from pure hardcore horror fans to worship it? Well, it took them seven to eight years to think one up so, it might have been a hard and who would blame them? Wolf Creek has everything in near perfection as a stalker-horror film despite the low-budget, minuscule kill count and pacing issues around the first act. And yet here we are nearly a decade later, watching John Jarrett don the role of our fave Outback hick, armed again with his trusted rifle and bowie knife.

Taking a different route on its story, Wolf Creek 2 mirrors a plot direction similar to that of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) wherein we are treated to two leading stories with their own casts that somewhat interconnects into one narrative.

Opening with a the re-introduction of Mick Taylor, an outbacker who happens to be just driving by for the day when two bored cops pulled him over and wrote a phony speeding ticket despite him going under the limit. Big mistake: no sooner as these two blokes drove off a fairly good distance, the driver got his head blown open with a hunting rifle, leaving his poor chap swerving into a small ditch. Mick returns to check on his masterpiece and finds the other cop desperately crawling away from the crash, only to treat him with his infamous "head on a stick" trick and torch him alive. Yep, looks like we're in for a bloody one!

We then shift our attention to Rutger and Katarina, a German couple on vacation in Australia, partying their nights away before traveling days to see Wolfe Creek crater. As they reached their destination, the two decided to camp out later that evening to flirt, a fatal mistake as Mick's been watching them, waiting for the moment to catch the lovers off-guard but soon grows impatient when they refused to go with him despite his sly wit and charm. After watching the outbacker kills and butchers Rutger, Katrina tries to escape across the cold desert night, pursued by Mick, just before being spotted by a bystander, Paul, a British surfer.

Noticing the worn out girl on the middle of the road, Paul helps her out and inevitably marked himself a doomed man as Mick continues to chase them and eventually murders Katrina. Over the next day, Paul finds himself stalked and pursued across the hot desert by a mad man with sinister plans for him once he is caught dead or alive, and will murder anybody that gets in the way.

More high octane and gloriously bloodier than its predecessor, Wolf Creek 2 is a great example of a slasher sequel following the sacred bigger and badder rule with much understanding and respect to the original. Not only that, but the movie clearly knows how to pay tribute to its influences as hints of The Hitcher and Duel, as well as obscure titles like Mirage (1990) and Next of Kin (1982) managed to seep through the cracks and gave us the same action filled vehicular manhunt, continental roadkill and elderly manslaughter such titles were known for.

In a way, the film is more or less a vehicle itself to re-establish Australia's own new age boogieman; Jarrett does a great job portraying the killer hick with the same wicked sense of humor and perkiness as the first film, dwelling into some hints behind his homicidal intention which mostly involves exterminating his country -or in a term more befitting, his world- of foreigners. A lot of this prejudice is later shown and put to a creatively intense use as Paul and Mick engages on a trivial game that may cost a digit or two per wrong answer. Clearly, we see a bit more of our killer's view of his country and the lengths he's willing to go to show how much pride he have for it.

True to this claim, anybody can and will die and the film made it sure we get to see that; the mere fact that the movie shifts focus from a German couple to a British bystander around the 40 minute mark clearly makes a stand that it's going to be unpredictable at some level, with an added bonus of splashier gore. Yes, it's may have the same torturous gore scenes and doomed-from-the-start victims that not only we have seen from the first Wolf Creek but in most survival slashers made, this sequel did it with a style that leaves up unbalanced and watching even if we're a tad familiar to what we are seeing, a bigger death toll that gets a lot more brutal than the last, and a broader black humor.

The only flaw I see here, sadly, is that the sense of despair that made the original gripping and disturbing was lost underneath the explosive truck attacks and gory shootings. I see this as a mean to cater to a wider market and audiences who may prefer something different, so those hoping to see the same grit and psychological trauma of the first may need to look elsewhere.

Best described as a true, if not a perfect example of a Australian slasher movie, Wolf Creek 2 slaughters its way from elevating a tension-filled Outback creeper to a bodycounter starring an anti-hero in the making. May this be a good or a bad thing for you blokes, there's no denying that Mick has finally stepped unto the limelight and nothing will stop him now!

1 male has the top of his head shot off with a hunting rifle
1 male got his spine severed with a bowie knife, set ablaze
1 male beheaded with a bowie knife
1 female shot through the cheeks with a hunting rifle
1 male seen repeatedly stabbed on the gut
1 elderly male shot on the head with a shotgun
1 elderly female shot on the face with a shotgun
3 females seen murdered
5 female and 3 male corpses seen rotting
1 female hit with a hammer and falls into spiked pit
Total: 19
a few days to kill...


  1. To coincide with this, the put out two or three prequel novels.

    1. there's two or three prequels now?!

      *one web search later*


    2. They're apparently awesome, so I just found and ordered 'em off eBay.

  2. And now it's getting a TV miniseries!

    1. Dang it! And I'm just starting with the Scream TV series!