Written By: Greg McLean & Aaron Sterns
Directed By: Greg McLean
Starring: John Jarratt, Ryan Corr & Shannon Ashlyn
Distributed by: Image Entertainment
I was excited when I first saw that Wolf Creek 2 had finally arrived. After all, I was a fan of the first film and didn’t realize that it had been 8 years, which is an eternity between horror sequels; I almost forgot it existed. However, Wolf Creek 2 has come out at a time when a good horror flick is desperately needed. Returning for this film is the director Greg McLean and actor John Jarratt, who reprises his role as the maniacal madman known as Mick Taylor. Mick is actually based on real-life Australian serial killers Ivan Miliat and Bradley John Murdoch. If you’re not sure who those guys are, Google their names; the news you’re sure to find will make this movie much scarier for your viewing entertainment. New to the series is the film’s main protagonist Paul Hammersmith, played by Ryan Corr. He is also based on a real person named Brit Paul Onions, who went through a real-life battle with the aforementioned Miliat. This background knowledge piqued my interest and made watching this film that much more terrifying.
The film gets underway with a bang, literally and figuratively, as Mick Taylor is introduced right off the bat. This is in contrast to the original where it took nearly half the film to pass before Mick’s entrance. Here Mick is pulled over by two ball-busting police officers who have nothing better to do than harass and write him a ticket. That is enough motive for Mick to brutally murder both policeman, as he dispatches one of them with a shotgun, blasting his head to pieces. That death scene is one of the finest in the film, with a gruesome display of gore that would satiate any horror hound. It’s the intro to the film and does a great job in setting the tone and revealing a taste of things to come: you don’t mess with Mick Taylor in his own backyard.
Next, we are greeted by a lovely young German couple, Rutger and Katarina, who don’t speak English so you will have to read subtitles. Don’t worry though, they’re also no match for Mick, so leave your reading glasses behind. This couple is stranded in the outback and seeking a ride before they decide to pitch a tent for the night. Enter Mick, who offers a ride to the couple as he fears they will get arrested for camping in a national park. The couple kindly decline and Mick goes into a rage, attacking Rutger. After a suspenseful struggle, Rutger’s head is decapitated by Mick. This is another exceptional scene of blood and gore. It makes the viewer feel uneasy as the sultry Katarina is now left alone with Mick, and he has no intention of killing her. He opts to knock her out and even tells her “we’re going to spend a nice, long few months together”, an eerie bit of foreshadowing perhaps. Katarina wakes up to find Mick carving up the remains of Rutger, which is when she decides to make her escape into the woods. A great scene follows as Mick desperately tries to track her down to do god knows what.
Next, we are greeted by the heroic Paul Hammersmith, who encounters Katarina and stops to help by picking her up, which we eventually learn is a fatal flaw according to Mick: “The first rule of the Outback is: never stop”. Paul did stop and Mick was never far behind as he torments the pair in his truck, which culminates with Katarina getting a bullet through her head. Paul manages to escape, but not for long, as the next day he is greeted by a huge semi-trailer with Mick inside. Mick chases him off the road and down a steep hill. Paul survives the attack, but can’t even take a breath when he realizes Mick sends the trailer down the hill, crashing into his car and creating an explosion. Another riveting scene in my estimation.
Paul is next seen coming to a house with an older couple that takes him in and offers him a place to rest. It appears things are too good to be true as they cook Paul a meal. Just as he’s about to settle down and enjoy some home cooking, he hears Mick’s voice intrude. Before you know it, Mick has brutally murdered the older couple and Paul’s again on the run. This time Mick is on the elderly couple’s horse and another chase scene ensues. After some more suspense, Paul is eventually captured.
Paul awakens in Mick’s house of horrors, bound to a chair. In a last act of desperation, Paul resorts to cracking jokes and to his surprise, impresses Mick. Mick even agrees to let Paul go if he succeeds in an Australian pop quiz. Paul doesn’t fare well at first and gives incorrect answers to questions, resulting in him losing two fingers. Those are some of the most brutal, uncomfortable scenes in the movie. I thought the director did a fantastic job there taking the audience on a roller coaster of emotions. One minute they’re cracking jokes, the next Paul is writhing in pain. It’s just such a series of squeamish scenes. When the final question is delivered, Paul hits Mick in the face with a hammer, potentially cracking his skull. Paul escapes again, but this time has to dodge traps set through Mick’s maze of torment.
As Paul is on the run he encounters countless dead bodies, one of which turns out to be a young girl who is still very much alive. Remember what Mick said to poor Katarina earlier on? Indeed, Mick is a sadistic murderer who takes pleasure in torturing his victims. As Paul reaches a dead end, Mick has another trick up his sleeve: vicious dogs. These hounds are released and when they are about to track Paul down, he activates a trap door by mistake, concealing him from the dogs. Paul then finds another trap, this time being a Punjabi stick. Realizing he can’t jump over it, he opts to hide behind it when he hears someone approaching. Clutching the hammer, he whacks said person into the trap. However to his horror, it isn’t Mick, but rather the young, tortured girl who is finally put out of her misery. Paul isn’t so lucky as he is finally caught by Mick, who declares himself the “winner” and then headbutts Paul unconscious. Paul awakens nearly naked, beaten, and bruised and finds a paper labeled “loser”. Policeman approach him as he looks like a suspect in the murder of all these tourists. The movie ends with graphics stating that Paul had a mental breakdown. He was deported back to England and committed to an asylum. Mick is then shown wandering into the Australian outback.
- John Jarratt as Mick Taylor – Jarratt returns and ups the ante with his portrayal as the villainous serial killer, this time giving him more of a sense of humor. Mick is usually seen smiling, laughing and cracking jokes. At times he reminded me of Freddy Krueger, equipped with a brimmed hat and all. I loved his performance and he made the movie that much more enjoyable, even though he is a vile, disturbing, murderous villain. Whether you root for him to win or lose, he is a force to be reckoned with in the world of horror.
- Great Moments of Gore – That’s right, the suspenseful scenes, although sometimes they feel a little too long, culminate in some intense moments of gore. If you have a weak stomach, these cinematic scenes could be a enough to give you nightmares. There is also a horrific scene of kangaroos meeting their end in bloody fashion, as not even animals are safe in this feature.
- Insertion of Classic Songs – I absolutely loved how director McLean inserted songs into the film. When Mick is chopping up the remains of Rutger, Patsy Cline’s “I Fall to Pieces” begins to play. Also, another great song in “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” blares on the radio as Mick chases Paul on a stretch of road in the outback.
- No Hero to Root for – Paul is the film’s hero, however, he appears about halfway through the film. The character build-up for Rutger and Katarina is established early on, but they are dispatched too easily. At times I found myself rooting for Mick, just because I loved his performance and he was the only character clearly defined throughout the entire film (I hope that doesn’t make me a softie for sociopaths).
- Another Sequel on the Way – It took over 8 years to make a sequel and, in my opinion, this should be the end of the Wolf Creek franchise. Two good films have come out of it and that’s not an easy task in the world of horror. The end of the film does show Mick on the loose so who knows if a third installment will transpire, but I hope it doesn’t. Leave well enough alone.