Directed by Greg McLean.
Written by Greg McLean.
Starring John Jarratt, Nathan Phillips, Cassandra Magrath and Kestie
Release Year: 2005
Review Date: 1/10/06
Hey, I love horror--especially when it's
based on a true story and made in Australia!
"Wolf Creek" is decidedly less horror-like
than many of its recent predecessors. Three 20-somethings
heading to a party somewhere across the Australian desert--Ben
(Nathan Phillips), Liz (Cassandra Magrath) and Kristy (Kestie
Morassi)--buy a car and make a big road trip to their final
destination, chillin' out along the way, swapping stories and
staring out at the endless plains in front of them. One of the
stops on their journey is to check out this big ass crater at Wolf
Creek Park, so after making a pit stop at a local gas station they
make their way out to the crater...but when they come back to their
car, their watches have stopped working and their car suddenly stops
working, too. Stranded, they wait out the night in the car,
until luck brings the threesome a wayward mechanic (John Jarratt)
that offers to tow their car back to his lot, where he can get their
ride up and running.
With an ominous statistic to open the film
that of the 30,000 Australians that go missing each year, only about
90% make it home alive within a month's time, you KNOW that this
threesome is in trouble when they meet the mechanic. Don't you
know you don't talk to strangers, even if you are stranded in the
Outback??? Director Greg McLean, working off what is
apparently a real-life case, has to make up some of the details
because some of what happens to the kids is obviously up for
debate...but, given that, the work that he does is kinda freaky,
even if it never truly freaked me out. This is because our
kidnapper is so folksy, so could-be-your-neighbor friendly, that he
is frightening in his ability to make anyone feel at ease...and boy,
when we REALLY get to meet this guy, he's got some issues but
nothing that ventured far from the Psycho Hall of Fame.
Save for that, plus the fact that our main
three characters just weren't very interesting, "Wolf Creek"
otherwise works as a thriller since you ride along as if you really
could imagine how scary it might be to have your car break down in
the absolute middle of nowhere. Once the kids get picked up by
our man Mick the Mechanic, all I could focus on was how committed I
am to never taking a road trip alone into the middle of nowhere (in
this country, this is known as "Montana") because of the high
probability of my never returning and no one ever knowing the grisly
details. McLean, working from his own script, does get in your
head a bit in this way--what if you told everyone you know you're
taking a road trip for the next month, and you get kidnapped four
days into your trip? Shit, nobody's even going to miss you,
"Wolf Creek" is short and sweet, with an
ending--while not very satisfying--that helps wrap up somewhat the
real life events of what happened to the people involved. I
loved that it didn't reach into cheap horror conventions (heightened
music right before somebody is about to be harmed, or smart people
investigating ridiculously dangerous situations for the sake of it,
or faux scares thanks to cats crossing the screen), and I loved that
the soundtrack is very sparse; it's much scarier watching the action
while waiting to see where the killer is going to pop up next.
Not bad, especially for a cheapie during the
day. Now, I've got to go and see "Hostel"!!
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard