Category: Frightfest 2014
Written by Joel Harley
Published on Friday, 22 August 2014 10:45
Wolf Creek 2 Movie Review
Written by Joel Harley
DVD released by Entertainment One
Directed by Greg Mclean
Written by Greg Mclean and Aaron Sterns
2013, 106 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on 15th September 2014
John Jarratt as Mick Taylor
Ryan Corr as Paul Hammersmith
Shannon Ashlyn as Katarina Schmidt
Philippe Klaus as Rutger Enqvist
Horror's answer to Crocodile Dundee returns in a belated sequel to Wolf Creek, almost ten years after his debut. Serial killer Mick Taylor is still at large and preying on innocent tourists in the Australian outback. This time, his would-be victims are a pair of German hitch-hikers and the hapless Englishman abroad who picks one of them up on the road.
I was never the biggest fan of Greg McLean's Wolf Creek - a cheap, nasty movie made during the height of horror's 'torture porn' boom, apparently revelling in its villain's misogynistic cruelty and the terror of his victims. With that in mind, I wasn't particularly excited to see its sequel, which puts Taylor centre stage, like a gruff Australian Freddy Krueger. Thankfully, Wolf Creek 2 is just different enough from its predecessor as to be a lot more bearable by comparison.
The film's new modus operandi is set up in its opening moments, which depicts Taylor facing off against a pair of local cops. Big, brutal and blackly comic, it's an assurance to the audience that this sequel won't be content coasting on the achievements of what has gone before. They even manage to go the whole film without repeating the “head on a stick”routine. The next half hour is essentially a quick remake of the first film (tourists head to Wolf Creek before falling afoul of mad Mick) with enough variation to not bore – they're German, for instance, and McLean doesn't waste anyone's time pretending that Mick is anything but a dangerous psychopath. The last hour, meanwhile, is virgin territory for Wolf Creek.
Duel and The Hitcher are the obvious points of reference here; a game of cat-and-mouse between Taylor and his victims. The fact that much of the focal point is on Ryan Corr's Paul Hammersmith helps immensely, distracting from Mick's misogyny. His preference in victim may be young and female, but that doesn't mean that the film has to let him indulge so often. It was the first film's complete disinterest in Ben that turned me off Wolf Creek, most of its lady-torturing action scenes leaving a foul taste in the mouth. That aspect remains for the sequel – particularly during Mick's initial capture of Katarina – but it's lessened to a degree, making for (slightly) more palatable viewing.
The biggest change is in the tonal shift from grim, realistic horror to black comedy. After watching Wolf Creek 2, never will I ever hear 'The Lion Sleeps Tonight' or 'Tie Me Kangaroo Down' in quite the same way again. Actually, scratch that last one. Given recent events, the surprise segue into Rolf Harris sing along territory seems quite natural for a film like McLean's. The scene with the kangaroos, meanwhile, left me speechless. The uneven tonal structure continues to the ridiculous finale, which winds up in slasher sequel territory and sits at complete odds with the film's alleged basis in reality. Its glorification of wisecracking Mick Taylor as some sort of Freddy Krueger or Jason Voorhees style killer – the sort we should be cheering as he goes about his bloody business – still troubles, leaving this a hard film to like.
Tonally uneven, morally dubious and thoroughly unpleasant in places, Wolf Creek 2 does not see the franchise enter more respectable territory. Come hoping to see Mick meet his match and you'll be thoroughly disappointed, as it continues to ridicule his victims and revel in the big man's bad behaviour. It is also, however, one of the more entertaining exploitation movies we've had in years. Some will hate it, many will love it, but none will ever look at kangaroos or 'The Lion Sleeps Tonight' in the same way again.
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