Happy go slash-slash Ozzie Mick Taylor (John Jarratt) is back to rid the outback of tourists in gruesome and mean spirited ways. But has he met his match this time around? Place your bets!
When I heard that a WOLF CREEK 2
was upon us the only thoughts that popped in my melon were 1- YES! I can't wait! And 2- What took them so freaking long! The original OWNED ME
and then some back in 2005 and now nine years later Greg Mclean FINALLY serves up a follow-up! Was it worth the wait? Damn straight it was!
WOLF CREEK 2 did what all good sequels should: retain elements from the original while delivering bigger and different type of thrills! What ALIENS was to ALIEN, WOLF CREEK 2 was to WOLF CREEK. The original film was axed on suspense while this follow up took the action oriented highway and packed quite a wallop! I gotta say it, this was the first time this year that a horror film entertained me this much! I was having a wiggle party in my seat! F*cking A! So how did I love thee? Let me count the ways!
First we had Greg Mclean's gorgeous and visceral visual style. The lad used wide shots in a powerful “David Lean” type of manner, was an ace at building momentum/anticipation and he double dipped in the suspense jar to serve up the necessary white knuckle chills! The ante was also upped when it came to the physical get-downs! Where WOLF CREEK was about build-up and then payoff, WOLF CREEK 2 put the pedal to the floor early on and owed more to Mad Max, The Hitcher (we even have a character named Rutger here... a sly nod?) and Duel than it did its predecessor. Yup, the flick was mucho chase heavy and some of the vehicular carnage it gunned my way was simply astounding! Mick's bold use of an 18 wheeler truck was definitely my highlight! I yelled “holy shit-balls” out loud during that bit! WOW.
Speaking of Mick Taylor, the psycho lad was brilliantly played once more by John Jarratt and the character got a potent booster shot in this second chapter! In typical sequel fashion, the villain hogged the spotlight further on this second round and by result, Mick came off more as an Ozzie Freddy Krueger with evil laughs and ba-da-boom one-liners in tow, than a grounded “real life” psychopath. On that, the lad was still frightening, in part because there is a side of him that is mucho endearing. What a funny, despicable and evil performance! Kudos Jarratt! Moreover, I dug the little spin they put on his motivation for killing. Basically the dude's an environmentalist and a racist on top of being a loon. Hey, I can go with that! On their end, our hero characters fared just as well. Although development was on the low jive, I was rooting for the German back-packers (played by the talented and likeable Shannon Ashlyn and Phillip Klaus) and loner Paul (tackled by Ryan Corr who really got to the shine in the last act of the picture.) Appealing casting can often make-up for slim characterization and this was one of them cases. Although I didn't know much about the "victims", they came off as likable and "real" hence I cared.
Then we had the INSANE gory party favors kicking in! We got a handful of howlers in here that would make my momma cry! Mick sure loves getting his hands dirty. A man from my own dead beat heart! Add to all that love some endearing winks to other Australian horror films (like Wake in Fright), a bold way of using comedy to make certain scenes hit even harder (that Kangaroo bit was nuts), witty dialogue and a sly play on audience expectations to whoop me silly and you get a muscled and well rounded sequel that delivered the goods and then some! NOTE: Word on the street is that Quentin Tarantino (who is a huge fan of the original) did some ghost-work on the screenplay. He worked the scene with the Germans and I wouldn't be surprised if he worked the tete a tete between Mick and one of the heroes, it sure sounded like Tarantino gold to me! Either way, ace job!
On the flip-side, there were a couple of dumb moves to serve the plot (With one that I didn't get at all i.e. dumping the body?) but I let them go quickly. I was too busy having a blast to dwell on them! The true downer was that WOLF CREEK 2 pretty much did no wrong in my book for 104 of its 106 run time. I was elated... and then the ending kicked in and left me high and dry. Trivial, abrupt, anti-climatic and fairly stupid, the finale screamed “We ran out of money” or/and “We don't know how to end it, so we hope this will do”. Well it didn't. Whoever let that cap-off fly should get an intimate visit from Mick Taylor! What a shame!
On the whole though, even though the last 2 minutes sucked some serious baboon ass, that didn’t change the fact that most of WOLF CREEK 2 was solid all around and took me for quite the wild and blood drenched ride! It was just as good as the original but in its own way! Mick Taylor is back and yes I am happy! Bring on WOLF CREEK 3! I actually have a killer idea as to how to go about another sequel! Give me a ring Mclean!
This one went for the jugular and ripped it the F out! Chopped off head, slit throat, blown off head, cut-up body parts, vicious stabbings, finger cutting... the works!
WOLF CREEK 2 is the best horror film of the year so far! It gave me all of the meat and toppings and in spades at that! An engaging story, crazy action scenes, tension laced chases, grisly and cruel kills, a breath neck pace, endearing performances, razor dialogue and striking imagery! It could no wrong until its lazy, slap dash and throwaway ending that left me on a meh note. But hey that's only two shitty minutes out of 100 plus of fun f*cking times! Wanna see WOLF CREEK get the MAD MAX treatment? WOLF CREEK 2 is for you mates!