‘Wolf Creek 2’ Review

Wolf Creek 2

“Fascinating In Its Own Way, Though Its Relentless And Nihilistic Tone May Turn Viewers Off”

For years people have been scared by the likes of Freddy Krueger, Norman Bates and Jason Vorhees, but let’s be honest:  What they are are cartoon characters.

Sure, somewhat violent cartoons, but cartoons nonetheless.  After all, imagine if someone were coming at you wearing a hockey mask and a huge machete?  Or brandishing finger-claws?  After you confirmed that you weren’t hallucinating, you’d be out of there so fast heads would spin.

Which is why real-life serial killers are so scary:  They look just like you and me.  You probably couldn’t pick them out in a crowd and they certainly don’t run around with knives because that would be too obvious.

Their sinister compulsions lie just beneath the surface, waiting for the right opportunity to make themselves known.

For instance, H. H.  Holmes, believed to be America’s first serial killer, lived from 1861 to 1896.  When he was finally caught, he confessed to 27 murders, and nine were confirmed.

Though it was suspected that he actually killed at least 200 people.

Another fact that’s the opposite to what popular culture tells us is that serial killers aren’t disfigured monsters.  In fact, more often than not, they tend to be very charismatic and charming.

Greg Mclean‘s Wolf Creek 2, like Wolf Creek, is based on a true story.  It’s also a pretty remarkable movie, in the sense that I have seen few films that are as relentlessly bleak.

Mick Taylor (John Jarratt) seems friendly and actually quite personable, despite the fact that he moves about the Outback as efficiently as a plague of locusts, seemingly killing any tourists he happened upon.  Though he doesn’t stop there, because even if the police get in his way, he’s not above removing them as an obstacle (though admittedly they do bring it upon themselves a bit).

There’s a terrible logic to Taylor’s actions:  Like H. H. Holmes, he preyed primarily upon itinerants.  And when you think about it, tourists are perfect prey in that they don’t have local roots, are unfamiliar with where they are, and may even speak a different language, which Greg McLean uses to great effect.

In fact, a portion of the movie is subtitled because the first travelers that Taylor encounters,  Rutger Enqvist (Phillipe Klaus) and Katarina Schmidt (Shannon Ashlyn), are German.

Having two characters–for a time they’re the only people on screen–speak a language many viewers are probably be unfamiliar with was an interesting idea, and adds a slightly disconcerting feeling to the film (beyond all the murdering, that is).

Though what’s most interesting about the film is, besides the already mentioned bleakness, is its not-too-subtle message, which is that no good deed goes unpunished. It makes sense considering that at least four of the people who die in this movie do so because they had the audacity to help someone in need, though it’s a particularly bitter pill to swallow.

Wolf Creek 2 is currently on Netflix.

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