Tag: wolf creek

Wolf Creek 2

Wolf Creek 2 (2013)
★★ / ★★★★

Whenever a horror movie starts off with a title card that reads, “The following is based on actual events,” a part of me is already repelled, as if the filmmakers are suggesting that the story they wish to tell is only scary because it is supposedly based on facts. “Wolf Creek 2,” written by Greg Mclean and Aaron Sterns, starts off exactly like this and so five seconds in, I was unimpressed and expecting the worst.

It is to its credit then that despite its chilling and gruesome level of violence, I was fairly entertained—for at least half of its bloated running time of a hundred minutes. It offers a few surprises, like who will be the final survivor—if any, and it will likely to impress gorehounds because just about every other scene is either a chase or a kill. For those who require more in horror films, however, they are likely to be disappointed.

A German couple, Rutger (Philippe Klaus) and Katarina (Shannon Ashlyn), is backpacking their way across Australia. As the doomed characters in the first film, they visit a popular tourist spot called Wolf Creek Crater and later encounter a deranged man named Mick (devilishly played by John Jarratt) who likes to torture and eat his victims. Needless to say, things do not bode well for the couple.

The picture is well-shot and offers beautiful landscapes. I appreciated the director, Greg Mclean, keeping the camera as still as possible despite insane chase sequences involving two vehicles—at one point involving a truck and a yellow Jeep (Ryan Corr plays the resilient driver). The standard nowadays, in order to amp up the thrills, is to shake the camera as fast and as often as possible. Here, Mclean is confident in the images he is showing. They are crisp, clean, and at times terrifying.

I liked the wide shots of the Australian desert. Shots of endless roads sandwiched by yellow sands with majestic plateaus sitting on the background are breathtaking. It would be a wonderful travelogue if there weren’t a serial killer patrolling the place. Given a story with more layers and characters we can relate with on a deep level, the contrast between an exquisite environment and monstrous violence might have worked.

I grew tired of the violence eventually. Expecting that the movie will have chock full of it, I braced myself and therefore expecting the worst. On that level, it delivers. And yet I could not ignore the fact that I began to feel bad about what I was watching eventually. At one point, an older couple become Mick’s targets. They get murdered in such a cold fashion that it drained my energy. Generally speaking, it’s one thing when brainless teenagers die in slasher flicks. I guess crossing the line for me is seeing kids or older people getting stabbed, shot, or mangled in any way, shape, or form—especially when they are supposed to function only as collateral damage.

“Wolf Creek 2” is a tough one to call. As a horror film, it absolutely has its strengths although its weaknesses are just as easily visible. There is an audience for a movie like this and, admittedly, sometimes I am one of them. Perhaps a sharper characterization and slyer sense of humor would have made this a better bloody escapism.

Wolf Creek

Wolf Creek (2005)
★★★ / ★★★★

Three friends, Liz (Cassandra Magrath), Kristy (Kestie Morassi), and Ben (Nathan Phillips), are on a road trip with plans of hiking along Australia’s Wolf Creek Crater located in the Outback. They reach a peak, admire the landscape’s beauty, and head down to their car without any problem. But when Liz tries to start the vehicle, it is completely dead. The plan is to sleep in the car until morning and get help. But as they settle down, they notice white lights from a couple of yards, steadily getting closer by the second. Ben thinks it might be aliens from the urban legends of the area.

Written and directed by Greg Mclean, “Wolf Creek” is a straightforward slasher flick but its approach is not standard because it is adamant in taking the time to build the mood and atmosphere. This allows us to buy into the latter half’s unflinching violence where Liz and Kristy try to outsmart a man named Mick (John Jarratt) who kindly offers to help them with the car.

The material benefits from a slow ascent to the climax. There are a handful of wide shots that showcase the land as well as close-ups of the characters being a part of it. We watch them enjoying the view, joke around in the car, get bored when there is nothing to talk about, and appreciating the time they have with one another. We get a sense of their personalities, perhaps even relate with them, so we wish to see them live through the inevitable bloodshed. During the quieter moments and the camera rests on a face, I found myself wondering what he or she might be thinking.

The picture’s grizzly violence succeeds with scenes that take place at night. While images like knives with fresh blood on it or mutilated corpses hanging from a rope demand our attention, it is the moments when a character hides in the dark or chooses to investigate how long the killer has been kidnapping people that make the most impact. The lack of score, using only carefully placed notes, adds to the urgency of the action on screen.

When there is daylight, however, there is significantly less tension. There are fewer places for the characters to hide and so the sinking feeling that the character is dead before the fact takes over. When it feels predictable, the problems in the screenplay are magnified because we are taken out of the experience and we begin to become more analytical of its technicalities. The violence, too, is more stylized in the light of day. It does not match the animalism that feels so alive when it is dark all around.

I am certain that some audiences will want to yell at the screen because at times a character seems to lack awareness that by leaving a weapon next to an unconscious body, the killer is given a chance to turn the tables around. I hate it when that happens, too. However, “Wolf Creek” remains entertaining because it offers elements that typical fares do not even bother to touch.

Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation!

Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! (2008)
★★★★ / ★★★★

I like to think of myself as an adventurous moviegoer so I’m on the constant lookout for movies that are vastly different from the mainstream. I’ve heard of the term “exploitation film” before (mainly from Quentin Tarantino because his movies often reference to that genre) but I never really knew what it really meant until I saw this film and did a bit of research about it. I really loved this documentary because I really learned a lot from it. I had no idea that Australia released all these cult classics, some of which have never been released in America. The way Australians made and released these daring movies in the 1970s and 1980s was so refreshing because nowadays, especially here in the United States, those kinds of movies are not made anymore. Once in a blue moon an exploitation flick (or a flick inspired from such like “Wolf Creek”) would be made but it was always under the radar no matter how good or bad it was. Speaking of good and bad, another thing that I loved about this documentary was it put the spotlight on good and bad movies alike and the people being interviewed explained why they thought a particular movie was good or bad (or sometimes even both). It fascinated me and I literally made a list of the movies wanted to check out. Some of them include “Mad Max” (1979), “Turkey Shoot” (1982), “Fairgame” (1985), “Dark Age” (1987), “Next of Kin” (1982), “Long Weekend” (1979), “Road Games” (1981), “Patrick” (1978), and others. The documentary, written and directed by Mark Hartley, was divided into several sections which started from movies about sex and nudity and ended with movies about car crashes and extreme violence. While it did cover a plethora of disparate motion pictures, I was also very impressed with the fact that it found enough time to discuss censorship (or lack thereof) in the era of Ozploitation. I wish this movement would repeat itself here in America because I’m starting to get sick of Hollywood trash being released in theaters weekly. Some days, I just want to see intense car chases with no real story but has a great sense of dialogue (like “Death Proof”) or even a movie about science gone wrong with buckets of blood on the side. Nowadays it’s all about the box office and watching this film really made me feel like the filmmakers wanted to make movies just because they were in love with the process–a reason why some of these exploitation films are so randomly original. I was so excited about the content of this movie, I decided to added some movies on my Netflix (the ones available in America anyway). I just want to see something so risqué and possibly something I can love and recommend to my friends when we don’t feel like going out and spending money.