Wednesday, April 23, 2014

FILM REVIEW: Wolf Creek 2 (2013)


I sat there and watched some beautiful shots of the sun coming over the hills of the outback. Some dickhead cops. Then, that truck...that hat...that laugh. Mick Taylor is back. And as the title for Wolf Creek 2  appeared on my bigger than necessary television screen...there was also a smile that appeared across my face. Also bigger than necessary.

I would like to mention how unhealthy of a fan I am of the original Wolf Creek. I was kind of a late bloomer to the film. I sometimes feign that I've known about it right when it first came out...but, I end up feeling bad about that particular lie...because, well...I only became hip to the adventures of Mick Taylor around 2010. I realize that that's a whole five years after the film came out and even tho there were always the critical acclaims and the urgings from my genre friends...I dunno - it just never really appealed to me. That is...until I actually watched the film. Then, I watched it again...and again. Jesus Christ, what an idiot I was for purposely skipping out on Wolf Creek! Because I love it now so damn much. And why not? It is a film about a sadistic caricature of Mick Dundee having his way with foreigners. Gone were all the cliches that one came to expect with films like this. The final girl, the hero...all warped into something fresh and exciting. Independent horror done right, in my humble opinion.

So, it was only natural that when news first broke about a brand new sequel to Wolf Creek  I would proceed to scream like my nine year old niece at a One Direction concert. I mean, who could really blame her? Have you ever seen Zayn's hair?? 

*awkward silence*


Anyway, it's 2014 and Greg Mclean has delivered Wolf Creek 2! Quite beautifully, I must say. All the sumptuous shots of the Aussie landscapes from the first film are abundant here...even if they're just there to frame a shot of the antagonist, it makes for some multi-leveled cinematography. Kudos to DP Toby Oliver for having a hand in making the film just as pretty to look at as the first one. Mclean expertly paces the film and reminds us that he is a horror director who continues to push the boundaries of independent filmmaking with a brutal force.

The film starts off with the obligatory "based on true events" title card that warns the viewer of the devious things to come...followed by that gorgeous sunrise in the land down under. Then, the man we all came to see is introduced to us like a wallaby kick to the face. Mick Taylor is a man of his country. Minding his own business...presumably driving off to his next tourist-butchering. Until he is stopped by a couple of douchebag state police officers. Well, without giving anything away, it's not long before we see that Mick Taylor does not like to be fucked with. He is a horror antagonist that really beckons for that iconography held by the Leatherfaces and Freddy Krueger's of the genre...so, it is no wonder that he is introduced in such a grand fashion.

John Jarratt is the only man alive to play such a deliciously evil character like Mick Taylor. Sometimes his glare alone delivers all the tension in the world in a single moment. It is important to note Jarratt's acting talent because Wolf Creek 2  is basically Mick Taylor's film. Unlike the first entry where Mick was introduced deep within the halfway mark, here he spends most of the running time with the viewer. I love the choice to really make this his film. I go back and usually start the first film around the time when he enters...because, that's when most of the fun also begins. 


The rest of the cast rounds out the film quite nicely. You have your typical German backpackers out to experience the beauty that Australia offers, the douchebag cops and the film's true protagonist in Paul Hammersmith (played amazingly by relative unknown, Ryan Corr). Corr really implants an authentic feeling of desperate plight into the character of Hammersmith. So much so that when the shit really goes down, you are genuinely rooting for this guy to make it out in one piece. Or at least as many pieces as Mick will allow.

In the way of gory fucked-upness...there's so much to delight in with Wolf Creek 2. For starters, this film does not skimp on the grue. Not since last year's Evil Dead  has there been so much of the gory red stuff splattered across the screen. Most of it practical, too! Much like Evil Dead, there is a fire scene early on that tips us off on the CGI stuff, not to mention the kangaroos. But, goddamn, when Mick cuts up one of his hapless victims...you get to see all the great gory stuff in all it's glory! Hah...I just used gory and glory in one sentence. Definitely a film to excite gorehounds across the world.

But seriously, Deviants...this is the best horror film thus far for 2014. It's funny, it's gory...and just plain great. We're almost at the halfway mark for the year and Wolf Creek 2  is available right now on VOD. That's pretty goddamn awesome. I would say that if you had issues with the first film, this one's probably gonna make you more of a fan. I mean, it doesn't necessarily have too much to offer beyond Mick Taylor butchering young backpackers amidst an incredible Aussie backdrop. But, sometimes...just sometimes...that's all you want in a film. And Mick provides that for us. After all...somebody's gotta keep Australia beautiful.




Thanks for reading,

bryan.




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