Review: WOLF CREEK 2 (2014){0}

It’s been almost a decade since the rough, tough, and memorably grim Aussie import called Wolf Creek helped to usher in an international wave of graphically intense horror films. (Some people would refer to films like High Tension, Wolf Creek, Hostel, and Saw as “torture porn,” a phrase I find more than a little stupid.) While many of these early ’00s horror movies kick-started franchises and skyrocketed a few careers, Wolf Creek just sort of stood alone.

Given that I wasn’t a huge fan of Wolf Creek, it was with great relief that I found director Greg McLean winning me over with his 2007 killer crocodile flick Rogue. But it’s tough to get funding for new projects when you have an international horror hit on your resumé – which probably explains why we’re finally getting a flick called Wolf Creek 2. To borrow an oft-used phrase where sequels are concerned: if you liked Wolf Creek, you’ll almost certainly enjoy the sequel. If you didn’t, well, then you probably won’t.

That’s not to say that Wolf Creek 2 is strictly “more of the same,” but aside from some gruesome dispatches, one memorable performance, and a handful of minor surprises, well, it is pretty much more of the same: young, clueless idiots wander into a patch of Australian outback that clearly belongs to a raving psychotic who loves to torture his victims (both physically and mentally) before getting down to the slicing and dicing. To its credit (or not, depending on the tone you’re looking for), Wolf Creek 2 displays a broader sense of humour than its predecessor does, but the gallows humour only works to a point: Wolf Creek 2 practically jerks to a halt, right in the middle, for a practically endless Q&A session between the psycho and his prey.

Prior to that (almost aggressively) slow segment, Wolf Creek 2 does show off a rather expeditious and unpredictable nature: the action switches smoothly from one supporting character to another, which keeps the action cooking and leaves the viewer a bit off-balance. There’s also a slick chase sequence that’s capped off with one of the loveliest (and most insane) truck wrecks you’ll ever see. It’s seriously that cool.

As he does in virtually every Australian horror film ever made, John Jarratt keeps the material amusing, even when it’s actually sort of familiar. (Good character actors do that a lot.) And once Wolf Creek 2 gets past that muddling mid-section, the pacing does pick back up and McLean is able to deliver the basic horror tropes that everyone knows by heart by now. Although loosely based on documented events, both Wolf Creek movies are a whole lot of lovely landscapes, a few truly disturbing themes, moments, and ideas – and a whole lot of stuff we’ve already seen before. The “true events” claim is great for marketing the movie, and perhaps in setting an unsettling tone, but a loose basis in fact has nothing to do with a film’s quality.

Established fans may embrace the the sequel or dismiss it for not being a carbon copy, but the filmmakers do a workmanlike job of balancing “the requirements” with “something, anything to alleviate the formula.” One hopes that the “franchise” successes of Wolf Creek will enable Mr. McLean to move on to bigger and better horror flicks – or at least another killer croc movie. The world can always use a few more of those.


Scott Weinberg