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.