Film Review: Wolf Creek 2
Australian horror films fan rejoiced at the return of their own home grown boogeyman Mick Taylor. With his Aussie slang drenched dialog and sadistic near Freddy Krueger style nature, I was so excited for this outback horror flick. However, Wolf Creek 2 is a vastly different film to its predecessor and where the original had patience and torment, Wolf Creek 2 has excess as it flaunts its near six million dollar budget upgrade.
Wolf Creek 2 has very little connection to the first film in terms of its narrative and has an entirely new set of characters that come across the sadistic Mick Taylor. In place of narrative connections the film shares the same gorgeous imagery of the Aussie outback and an equally enjoyable performance from John Jarratt. However, its biggest call back to the original is found in Jarrett’s dialog. The one-liners that were so endearing and malicious in the original have sadly been pushed to near Dr Freeze ala Batman & Robin levels. Like one of Mick Taylor's closest cousins, Freddy Krueger, Mick Taylor has (within only a single sequel mind you) become a near laughable figure of fun, almost void of real torment.
There are also several moments within this installment that pull Taylor further away from his original characterization and closer to a copy of Leatherface. Things such as the inclusion of a dungeon decorated with human remains and illusions to cannibalism. Although this was in part present in the first film, here it seems to have been taken further. Problematically this growth and change in character pulls Mick further away from being an Australian horror icon and feels desperate in its needs to fit in with the American horror film history. As if the character in the first film had to rise to the occasion of meeting a larger international American market. Further on, Wolf Creek 2 features no image that seemed to have the ability of summing up the uniquely Australian horror being presented, where as the original had the wonderful image that you see below.
Wolf Creek 2 is not a total waste of a film however, there are a few redeeming elements. Greg Mclean (Director) has noticeably grown in some ways as a filmmaker and his dare to tackle a car chase scene should be noted and appreciated, although the scenes are not without their flaws. It does become clear that McLean’s talent does lye within the horror genre and there is best scene of the film where this is obvious takes place in an outback domestic home, Wolf Creek 2 is otherwise a troubled action horror hybrid.
Greg Mclean is obviously aware that the best works of horror carry with them an underlying note about the culture from which they have been birthed. Wolf Creek 2 is really all about Australia’s racists past AS WELL AS the more contemporary racism that we do see today (AUSTRALIA: FIT IN OR FUCK OFF). But these points are driven at the speed of a truck off a cliff at the audience in this film and if one were to really look at the original, they would see that all of it is already instilled in that film, far more subtly and with more skill. It is for this reason why Wolf Creek 2 actually feels a little irrelevant.
This review may sound overly negative but it is only because the film lacks the subtly of its predecessor and McLean’s second film Rouge. It is an enjoyable enough action style horror flick and if you are going to see it with a box of popcorn on a date you will probably get your money’s worth. However, if you are looking for something with the flavor, feel and chill of the original, head down to your local video store and pick up McLean’s crocodile monster flick Rouge.
A large step back for what seemed to be one of Australia’s more promising horror filmmakers.