Wolf Creek


This film is set to take the world by storm. I have no doubt that Wolf Creek is bound to become one of the top-grossing Australian films of all time.

This is a hard-hitting horror film that refuses to back down, and is sure to disturb many viewers. There have been many comparisons to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and for the first half of the film I thought this may have just been marketing people exaggerating, but then the film went into high gear and I found out what they were talking about.

Wolf CreekIt’s not only fantastic to see some up and coming filmmakers already masters of the genre, but also a film that isn’t afraid to take its time. Greg McLean’s feature spends a sizeable portion of the running time letting us get to know the characters. We have an intelligent and witty script, and universally fantastic performances. Cassandra Magrath (who I remember having the hots for back when I used to watch ‘The Wayne Manifesto’ on TV), Andy McPhee and Kestie Morassi deliver wonderfully true to life performances. You really care for these young people stuck out in the middle of nowhere. John Jarratt I’m sure will be remembered for years to come as the man that turned the Aussie stereotype on its head. The four of them feed off each other so brilliantly in a manner rarely seen in the genre.

Okay, so Wolf Creek’s supposedly based on a true story, but it’s probably better if you try to clear your head of this. I’m sure many liberties were taken with plot, characters and actions, but more importantly I believe that linking it with real life tragedy is in poor taste and leads to all sorts of moral ambiguities. Surely the words ‘based on true events’ must sell tickets, since we see them again and again in movies, although I’ve never met anyone who gets excited by that phrase. I for one am immediately turned off when those words appear in a trailer for an upcoming film. I would suggest separating Wolf Creek from any publicity that puts this spin on the film, and simply enjoy it as a piece of cinematic fiction. So, now that I’ve got my moral qualms with the film out of the way, back to praising it…

I thought that I was in for a low-budget horror movie when I entered the theatre at the 2005 Melbourne International Film Festival but Wolf Creek was anything but. Not once did I have to force myself to be gentler in my critique – this looks like a big-budget movie, and virtually stabs, mauls and garrottes the overwhelming majority of teen horror flicks out there. It isn’t excessively graphic, and in fact most of the more harrowing moments are inferred rather than witnessed, but that doesn’t make it any less brutal.

The cinematography is stunning, the beautiful yet harsh South Australian landscape in perfect harmony with the haunting score courtesy of Frank Tetaz (known for his work with David Thrussell and Snog, and more generally on the Dorubo label).

You want a great horror film? This is it. A future classic.

Rating: 4.0 stars
Review by Stuart Wilson, 23rd August 2005
Hoopla Factor: 4.5 stars

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