An entertaining movie, much like a good meal, is worth the price you pay. And even though a bad movie, unlike a bad meal, probably won’t give you the runs, paying $10 dollars to see it will make you feel like shit.

Archive for Wolf Creek

Wolf Creek

Production Budget: N/A

Worldwide Gross: $27M

What does one typically look for in a good horror movie? Do we crave realistic violence, or perhaps a suspenseful story loaded with psychological terror? If it were a perfect world, we would always get both. Unfortunately, this is not a perfect world. As such, we are often presented with one or the other. In recent years we have been subject to dozens of horror films that have fallen into this very rut. Mainstream horror movies like Saw spew forth a ridiculous level of gratuitous violence while simultaneously lacking the necessary depth, suspense, and terror to justify it. On the reverse side (and just as bad in my opinion), horror flicks like The Ring harbor psychological components that induce fear, but almost completely neglect a level of violence that would not only reinforce the original message of terror, but please the crowd. Luckily for you, though, the horror community has found a movie that combines the aforementioned elements seamlessly. Wolf Creek puts the horror pedal to the metal and rips right through the seemingly unavoidable rut of one-dimensional horror filmmaking.

Wolf Creek is the true story of three college-age backpackers who travel through the Australian outback to see the mysterious crater at Wolf Creek National Park. The outset of the film follows Liz, Kristy, and Ben as they drive their vehicle through the secluded, barren lands of Australia. When the road to Wolf Creek ends prematurely, the three traverse across miles of territory on a four-hour hike. During their journey, Liz and Ben are seduced by the beauty of Wolf Creek and in turn spark up a romantic connection. This occurrence adds a unique element of trust between the characters, as both Liz and Ben confide in Kristy for advice on their emerging romance. The generally innocent, likable, and fun-loving characters pull movie viewers into their world in a documentary-type fashion. One feels as though a camera is following the cast through the outback, capturing a free-ranging dialogue that comes off as natural and realistic, (ala the Blair Witch Project, but better, with less cheese). Simply put, one feels a connection to these characters that is rarely felt in other movies.

Unfortunately for these unsuspecting friends, the fun and beauty that comprised Wolf Creek is but a mere afterthought when they return to their car and find that it is inexplicably dead. Unable to repair it and stranded in the remote desert, the three decide to sleep on site in hopes that a passerby will spot them and lend assistance. Their prayers are seemingly answered when the bush-whacking adventurer Mick drives by and is all too eager to offer a helping hand. Weary of Mick’s awkward and somewhat confrontational demeanor, the three reluctantly agree to be towed back to his garage for repairs. What follows is an ordeal that can only be described as both terrifying and brutal. The rare connection the viewer establishes with the characters at the beginning of the film is tested time and again as Mick’s sadistic personality is unleashed upon them. This movie is so realistic and so well acted that I actually found myself feeling sorry for the three main characters. At times the terror felt palpable, while at other times, I had to hold myself and wince as I watched in horror. Needless to say, this combination of eerie suspense and realistic brutality is what made the film so beautiful.

Of course, no review is authentic if it doesn’t touch upon the weaknesses of any given film. In this instance, I firmly believe that Wolf Creek is strong in nearly every facet: The acting is excellent, the characters come off as human, the production values are acceptable, the villain is terrifying and authentic, and the violence is purposeful and extremely realistic. The fact that this movie is based on a true story only adds a certain level of eeriness that transcends the picture from beginning to end. If you’re a horror fan, do yourself a favor and pick up this classic today.

Recommendation: To make this movie worth your buck, see it in the theater if you’re a horror fan. If you’re a casual fan, rent it as a new release DVD and be terrified. (Do NOT smoke ganj and watch afterward, you will die.)