Friday, July 11, 2014

Movie Review: Wolf Creek 2 (2013)

Way back around 2005 or 2006, I simultaneously fell in love with the film Wolf Creek, its director Greg McLean, and its antagonist Mick Taylor as played by John Jarratt. McLean put off doing a sequel to Wolf Creek in favor of making the equally awesome film Rogue, so many of us have been waiting a long time for this. And I'm happy to say that, for the most part, Wolf Creek 2 is another wonderful output from this talented filmmaker.

The outback is still not a safe place to go, as hitchhiking couple Rutger and Katarina visit the famed Wolf Creek Crater, and find themselves in the territory of brutal killer Mick Taylor. He hasn't lost his taste for blood, or his love of playing sick games with tourists.

The sequel definitely changes pace from the original, which was much more realistic and gritty. The first scene of Wolf Creek 2 lets the audience know that they are in for something very different - something a lot more graphic and with a lot more blood and action, and also with a little bit of a sense of humor. The film never really goes completely in one direction or the other in terms of tone, which is both humorous and serious, and there are a few twists in plot that will no doubt keep you interested.

John Jarratt is just plain brilliant - again. I could tell from the poster that they were going to focus
more on Mick's character in Wolf Creek 2, and honestly, that is exactly what I was hoping for. Jarratt's performance was fantastic - being able to have that somewhat lovable, unassuming side of a stereotypical Aussie, hiding the truth that he is a disgusting rapist-murder with no conscience. Almost ten years later, Mick is still that wise-cracking son of a gun whose brutality is now almost unmatched by many other killers. His look is also gladly the same with his sideburns, hat, and plaid shirt, rifle in one hand; knife in the other.

I had a feeling that there would be a more comical, Freddy Krueger-esque persona about Mick in Wolf Creek 2 (that Aussie accent pretty much begs for it) but I was glad to see that that did not take away from how terrifying he is. If anything, it added to it. Here is a man with the entire outback as his playground, where he can and does do whatever he wants to whatever hapless tourists come his way. That's unbelievably terrifying to me, no matter how many jokes he cracks, because that just shows me how much fun he is having doing what he does. McLean emphasizes this point by once again using many wide shots of the landscape, letting us know just how isolated our characters are.

I didn't realize what a hankering I had for some good gore until I watched Wolf Creek 2. During that first scene when a cop's head is blown half off by Mick's rifle, I was downright giddy to find out what else was in store for me. There's a pretty horrific beheading with Mick's second signature weapon - his trusty hunting knife. He also uses a shotgun, whip, and a handsaw in fun ways. One scene that even grossed me out is when Mick is having a little bit too much fun dismembering a body. The special effects are way too good, if you know what I mean. The effects are also wonderful when Paul gets to Mick's underground tunnels of terror, which is full of his past victims in various stages of decay. It also made me very happy that all the effects in the film are done in camera, with the exception of the kangaroos.

Speaking of which, if there is one thing in this film that deserves its own paragraph, it is the
awesomeness of... The Kangaroo Massacre. Holy goddamn, this was the funniest, most unexpected shit I have seen in a long time. During one of the car chases between Mick and Paul, Mick has gotten himself a big rig and uses it to straight up plow through a group of kangaroos as they cross the highway. You guys. I could not breathe, I was laughing so hard, especially with "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" playing in the background. Somehow it works, though, because the scene moves on quickly after that, and you're left just kinda like, "Well, that happened!" More awesome is the conclusion of this car chase, when Paul's car is pushed off a cliff. He survives, and jeers at Mick that he'll have to do better than that to kill him - so Mick sends the whole fucking big rig off the cliff, too. Brilliant.

The film ends with an awesome extreme wide shot of Mick in his home of the outback, which again becomes another character in the movie. Wolf Creek 2 was a long time in the making, and perhaps this was a good thing because McLean and Jarratt were really able to work on the story and do a sequel that is truly worthy of the original. I can't believe I had almost forgotten about Mick Taylor. I've watched the film about three times now, and falling in love with this wonderful villain even more every time.


  1. Hi Michelle, long time no comment.

    Great review, I just saw it this week myself and seem to have felt much the same about it as you.

    Even though I preferred the more serious tone of the first, I appreciated that McLean went for a more popcorn action tone with this one, making it a really different, and therefore unpredictable movie. Much like the other locally produced movie I caught recently - THE ROVER - there's a lot of MAD MAX's DNA in WOLF CREEK 2. The road chases are awesome, particularly the one you mentioned with the semi and the roos, which was probably my favourite in the movie. Great sequence that.

    I also agree that the gore was top notch, that beheading was NASTY!

    Jarratt was obviously enjoying every minute of his screen time. You can see that he knows that this is the character that will define his career so he's just going for broke. I personally think he hammed it up a little TOO much this time, but I know that's because as an Australian I found some of the cultural cliche's to be a bit too obvious and broad. That said, I know it was made with the international market in mind so Mick is meant to be an exaggerated stereotype.

    McLean is making some very timely comments here about the nature of Australian parochialism, racism and our incredibly shitty treatment of asylum seeking immigrants. I applaud him for that!

    1. HOLY CRAP. Aylmer??? Good to hear from you, buddy!

      Glad to see you enjoyed this one. You're right that it was very unpredictable, especially because it changes protagonists so early. The action and the gore was also a bit unexpected compared to the original, but I too was glad they went for this tone for the sequel.

      It's interesting to hear your opinion of the movie overall and Jarratt's performance as an Australian. I always wondered - even though the films were made by Australians - if they were a little offended at the stereotype Mick represents. I actually think it makes him so much more terrifying, and we know Australians are not really like that, so I don't think you have anything to worry about.

      Again, so glad to hear from you! Hope you're doing good!

  2. I've not seen this one yet, but I've seen some screencaps and it looks brutal. Honestly, I wasn't a very big fan of the original movie, so I think that's the reason I haven't put this one on yet. Your review has got me ready to watch this now. I don't think I've read a bad review yet.

    1. It's really quite different from the original, so if you didn't dig that one, there's a good chance you might like the sequel more! Less slow burn arty film, more blood-and-guts action.

  3. And Lo, Mick is now immortalize as our new modern horror icon!
    Welcome to the Outbacks indeed, mate! XD

  4. Just finished watching. Fun sequel, but somehow underwhelming. Loved scenes like the uber-insane kangaroo massacre or the badass opening. On the other hand, the "Tie me Kangaroo down Sport" sequence is sooo long, sooo dull, soo tedious, it's frustrating IMO.

    1. I agree that that particular scene went on a bit too long. I actually prefer the whole first half of the movie rather the second half, but it never really took away from my enjoyment of the movie as a whole or my growing love for Mick Taylor. Which sounds very sadist of me, I know.