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Bewildering Stories

Greg McLean, Wolf Creek

reviewed by Christopher Stires

Author & director: Greg McLean
Released: 2005
Starring: Cassandra Magrath,
Kestie Morassi, and Nathan Phillips
Length: 1h39

The thrill is in the hunt.

Three college-age friends Liz (Magrath), Kristy (Morassi), and Ben (Phillips) decide to take a trip through the Australian Outback before school starts. They camp overnight at Wolf Creek National Park. The next morning they find their car won’t start and they are stranded in the desolate Outback with no one for miles and miles. Not even their cell phones will pick up a signal. Then friendly Mick Taylor (John Jarratt) comes along. He offers to tow their car to his mining camp and repair it. They accept. And the terror soon begins.

One word sums up this movie for me: lame. It didn’t work for at me all. I went to and saw that it scored a 52, and a 6.2 at IMDb. I think those folks were being kind. I like characterization in my films, but despite spending a long — and I mean a long — time getting to know Liz, Kristy, and Ben it still felt like surface skimming. It didn’t matter either that the movie was based on a true story. That credit wore out its power a long time ago. I keep waiting for the credit that reads: based on a true video game or based on a writer’s warped imagination.

Anyway, the violence is horrific and, if you have a weak stomach, nauseating. One line of dialogue will probably be repeated: “I’m going to do something now they used to do in Vietnam. It’s called making a head on a stick.” Lastly, the ending seems like the writer got tired and just quit.

The only sequence that worked well was when the trio ran into a group of redneck morons at a highway service station/café. That clicked.

Spoiler paragraph: I want to be on the edge of my seat for a horror movie or thriller. I want to feel sad, or at least some emotion, when characters die. I want the bad guy to get his or her just reward. Sometimes it works when the villain escapes at the end — The Silence of the Lambs and Halloween immediately spring to mind. But usually it doesn’t.

Final word on Wolf Creek: Lame. Enough said.

TRIVIA: In Australia’s Northern Territory, the Director of Public Prosecutions asked the film distributors to delay screening Wolf Creek until after the trial of a man accused of murdering a British backpacker.

[Author’s note: This review appeared previously in Dred Tales]

Copyright © 2007 by Christopher Stires

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