BBFC Classification: 18
Director: Greg McLean
Starring: John Jarratt, Ryan Corr, Shannon Ashlyn, Philippe Klaus, Shane Connor
In the ‘making-of’ documentary on the disc for Wolf Creek 2, writer/director Greg McLean states that he always intended for his original 2005 Wolf Creek to have a sequel. Easy to say now that there is a sequel but Wolf Creek was actually a fairly self-contained film that told its story – allegedly based on actual events – with a beginning, a middle and an end that wrapped things up for the surviving character; granted, the film’s antagonist Mick Taylor (John Jarratt – Django Unchained) survived and was last seen walking into the sunset but the story felt complete, and if it was left there then that could also add to its potency.
But nearly a decade later and Wolf Creek 2 has arrived. In retrospect, and knowing how movie studios think, it’s quite obvious that a sequel would get made eventually because John Jarratt as Mick Taylor, the pig-hunting psychopath with a huge knife and a grudge against other people, is probably as close to the wise-cracking villainy of prime Freddy Krueger as we’ve had in decades. With the exception of Brad Dourif’s Chucky and his triumphant return in last year’s Curse of Chucky, horror movie killers have been a particularly dour bunch of late and Jarratt added a huge dose of rough Aussie charm that evoked memories of Paul Hogan bragging “…this is a knife” way back in 1986, only with the bonus of backing it up with a genuinely terrifying change in his friendly persona and giving us a modern boogeyman to get excited about.
So how do we find Mick Taylor in Wolf Creek 2? We first find him being pulled over by some overzealous policemen for speeding across the Outback and playing the redneck buffoon in an excellent 10 minute opening scene that sets the tone for the rest of the film. Not that Mick is a buffoon throughout the film because, unlike the police officers giving him a ticket, we know who he is and what he is capable of. And from then on in it’s one scene of gratuitous violence after another as the crazed pig-hunter goes on the rampage with a series of kills that starts with a simple knife stabbing and ends with launching a huge articulated truck off a cliff into a wrecked car. That is, until the final third of the film when the pace slows down and the film eases up on the gore (just a bit) to have a face-off between Mick and Paul (Ryan Corr – Where the Wild Things Are), his intended victim, and then the film veers dangerously close to torture porn territory as we get a climpse of Mick’s underground labyrinth and what he keeps down there.
In terms of deep and meaningful content Wolf Creek 2 is severely lacking but for sheer blood-soaked thrills it does the job. John Jarratt knows exactly what he’s doing and plays Mick Taylor with the same kind of gleeful relish that Anthony Hopkins had in Hannibal or Robert Englund gave to Freddy Krueger in the post-Freddy’s Revenge sequels, i.e. an actor owning the character. The supporting cast are only really there to provide Mick with victims so there’s no need to go over their performances too much, although Ryan Corr’s scenes where he goes head-to-head with Jarratt give you something to grasp onto (and give you a break from the outlandish gore).
Wolf Creek 2 follows the laws of sequels and does the first film again, only with a little less inventiveness and a lot more focus on ramping up the bits that audiences cheered for last time. It won’t be for everybody but it is so out there in terms of sheer bloody lunacy that, as long as you don’t over-analyse it, it’s impossible not to get caught up in its madness and go along with it. However, the pacing of the film is all over the place and whilst McLean tries to do the original film in reverse with all of the violent stuff in the beginning and the more tense stuff at the end it doesn’t quite work as well as he probably thinks it does, making the film end on an unsatisfactory note. Nevertheless, Wolf Creek 2 will satisfy the gorehounds and cement Mick Taylor – and by extension, John Jarratt – into the movie serial killer hall of fame, and as long as your expectations don’t go above the level set by other pumped-up horror franchise sequels like Wrong Turn 2: Dead End or The Collection then there is no reason not to have fun with this.
Special Features: Making Wolf Creek 2 documentary, deleted scenes.
UK Release Date: 15th September 2014