Crikey! "Wolf Creek" is a Disturbing Aussie Horror Trip!


9/12/2019

Writer/Director Greg Mclean has created a charismatic and memorable Australian serial killer in the form of Mick Taylor for the 2005 film “Wolf Creek”.  While the plot and storyline are minimal and quite familiar, Mclean takes time to develop the characters for max effect when things start to go south.  Similarities could be made to the “Crocodile Dundee” films of the mid to late 80s, “Wolf Creek” spins the story of your classic outback survivalist in a completely different direction, but they do make a few nods to it in the film.

“30,000 people go missing in Australia each year, 90% are found within a month” Theses are the words displayed on the screen as the film opens.  We are taken into the lives of 3 college friends Liz, Kristy, and Ben who are in the midst a wild drunken party.  When the sunrises the next morning everyone is in hangover mode.  The three friends get into a car and head off on a road trip to the Wolf Creek Crater site.  This is when we finally see the films credit sequence.  Throughout the film we are treated to several wide-angle shots that showcase the beauty of the Australian outback, that juxtaposed with the nastiness of Mick.

Once they get to the site they have to take a three-hour hike in the rain to visit the awe-inspiring crater.  Since this is a horror movie we are treated to some scary campfire stories of UFOs and strange supernatural occurrences that supposedly happened at the site.   There is also a budding romance between Ben and Liz.  It’s dark when they get back to the car and wouldn’t you know it the car won’t start.  I don’t think there would be cell service even if they did have phones.  After contemplating what they should do next they are approached by two giant lights in the distance.  No Ben it's not a UFO, but a big truck coming to help them out.  Mick gets out and introduces himself, he is charismatic and a bit eccentric.  After some hesitation, they agree to have their car towed back to his place, which a quite far away.  Back around the campfire, Mick tells some gory stories of his life being a pig hunter and a chorus of awkward laughter hangs over every word.  Liz, Kristy, and Ben all drink from the same water jug and wouldn’t you know it was drugged.  

Liz wakes up with her wrists and ankles zip-tied, she is able to break free and heads to the barn where Kristy is tied to a post screaming and crying.  2005 was the start of the short-lived torture porn era in horror as Eli Roth’s Hostel was also released the same year.  Liz is able to get the drop on Mick and shoots him in the neck.  She unties Kristy and they try to make their escape.  Of course Mick is far from dead and the hunt is on.  The girls try to outsmart Mick, but they never stay hidden for very long.  We get to see more of Mick’s vast camp that includes a graveyard of old cars and one of bones and rotting corpses.  The girls almost get away a couple of times but it was never meant to be.  We then finally get to see what happened to Ben, although he is nailed to a cross he manages to escape.  As he looks for a way back to civilization he is caught in the middle of a full solar eclipse.  Ben is eventually able to find a road and flag down some tourists who take him to safety.  

Before the end credits, we get a few paragraphs that say that this was based on a true story and the girls' bodies were never found.  Ben was not found to be guilty of any crime and now live in a mental facility.  No trace of Mick has ever been found either.  “Wolf Creek” is better than your average horror film with its character development, truly nasty gore effects, brilliant cinematography, and the wonderfully insane Mick Taylor.  Greg Mclean also directed the sequel “Wolf Creek 2” in 2014 which is a less successful carbon copy of the original.  


"Cry Wolf" Will Make you a Believer


9/5/2019

The late 1990s and early 2000s were all about the teen horror movie, a sub-genre that was reinvigorated by Wes Craven’s 1996 film “Scream”.  Although “Cry Wolf” doesn’t rewrite the rules of the modern scary movie, it is a low budget film with a clever script and Jon Bon Jovi as a teacher? Say what!

The story takes place at West Lake Prep school, a repository of rich and over-privileged teens who keep themselves entertained by playing elaborated games of lying and deception.  We enter the film through the eyes of new student Owen (Julien Morris), who is way too innocent looking and also happens to be British.  He is introduced into the world of West Lake by the resident popular girl, Dodger (Lindy Booth). Then Owen meets the popular kids and is invited to sneak out after dark to join them in playing the lying game.  He leaves an impression and obviously develops a crush on Dodger.  While in the library together they instigate a prank in creating a campus serial killer.  The technology used in the film is period-accurate so by today’s standards is quite outdated.  The students use AOL Instant Messenger to pass around rumors about “The Wolf” and his recent victim, a girl who was actually murdered in the woods by the school.  The Wolf becomes a viral sensation before the term viral was even a thing.  Smartphones were still a few years away and social media was still in its infancy.

Things then start to get real when Owen and a few other students are attacked by a person dressed up like the Wolf (Camo jacket, orange ski mask, large hunting knife).  The search is on to find out who this person is and everyone on campus is a suspect.  As I mentioned in the opening, Jon Bon Jovi plays Mr. Walker a teacher who is found out to be having an affair with Dodger.  She has broken it off, but Owen isn’t so sure.  At one point Owen loses his book bag while running from the killer and when he gets it back the killers hunting knife if found inside implicating him.  The students in the lying game circle start to disappear and the remaining students are freaked out and want the game to be finished.  The third act involves betrayals, double-crosses and a surprising murder or was that the plan all along?  Without giving away too many spoilers the puppet master is revealed and we find out all the intricate details.  This movie takes full advantage of the shocking twist ending that was popularized by “The Sixth Sense”.  “Cry Wolf” is an entertaining horror film that while not earth-shattering rises above your average scary movie.