Wolf Creek has a reputation for being one of the greatest and scariest Australian horror movies around. Now everyone’s favourite serial killer is back in Wolf Creek 2, directed once again by Greg Mclean and starring John Jarratt as the tourist-hating, backpacker-murdering Mick Taylor. Following on from the first movie, Mick is up to his old tricks once more; picking up hitchhiking backpackers in outback Western Australia, lulling them into a false sense of security with his country-bumpkin charm, then torturing, raping and murdering them, all in the name of ridding Australia of the “noxious bloody weeds” that tourists are. This time around, his sights are set on a young couple from Germany, whose Australian adventure is cut abruptly short when Mick stumbles upon their campsite…
In preparation for this movie, I watched the first Wolf Creek, which I had never seen before. The first installment was great: it had all the necessary gore and suspense without being overwhelmingly scary, it had interesting characters that you came to care about, it was well written, well directed and – despite the low budget – well made. Unfortunately, everything that made Wolf Creek fantastic was completely and utterly absent from Wolf Creek 2. Unlike the first film, the characters in the sequel are underdeveloped and so too is the audience’s relationship with them. Like many B-grade horror films, Mclean has created a very formulaic screenplay that merely introduces the basic features of the characters without going any deeper, meaning you’re not attached to them in any way when they ultimately get into strife. Coupled with some pretty dismal acting, you’re not really rooting for this German couple to survive (you may even find yourself hoping for the opposite). John Jarratt as the menacing Mick Taylor could have shone in the role, however his overbearing Australian accent and use of slang, as well as his cheesy one-liners, stifle his acting abilities.
Which brings me to the “horror” aspect of the film. Have you ever watched a supposedly scary movie and found yourself yelling at the screen, maddened by stupidity of the characters in these life-threatening situations? “If you just wiggled a bit more, you could free yourself!”, “if you just used that shattered glass as a weapon, you could get away!”, “FOR GOODNESS SAKE, YOU’RE SITTING ON A GUN JUST SHOOT THE GUY ALREADY!”. Sound familiar? Expect to yell yourself hoarse in this movie, because none of the characters ever seem to make sensible choices about how to get themselves out of danger, to an irritating degree. It ends up being comical how downright nonsensical their situations become, which really inhibits the fear and tension you are supposed to be feeling. This movie really misses the mark in terms of scariness, and instead moves further and further into the realm of silliness as it progresses.
Sequels are always a risk and, unless it’s the Toy Story franchise, almost never work out as well as the first. Wolf Creek 2 is a hugely underwhelming follow up to the original that will sooner have you in stitches than cowering under the covers.
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