The original Wolf Creek was a brutal and nihilistic Aussie shocker that gave the movie world a new bogeyman in the form of Mick Taylor: an outback redneck who loves to prey on, torment and ultimately dismember backpacking tourists. Terrifyingly portrayed by John Jarret, he returns for a sequel which is bigger, louder and faster than the original but unfortunately nowhere near as effective. It’s business as usual for Mick who is out cruising the Australian desert looking for poor tourists to maim and kill. Having dispatched a couple of loud mouth road cops in the film’s opening scene, focus then switches to a couple of German backpackers who stupidly try to hitch a lift with Mick. He gets to torturing and tormenting them, only then for the film to pull another switcheroo by shifting focusing onto Paul (Corr) an unfortunate pom (as he is relentlessly referred to throughout the film!) who also crosses paths with Mick and then becomes the main focus of the sadistic outdoorsman. What follows is a seemingly never-ending chase and a lot of explicit gore.
A very mixed bag, Wolf Creek 2 veers from impressively staged and shot chase thriller to muddled gore soaked mess that by the last third drags on and on with the excessive ramblings of its villain and the need to shock with gore. Compared to the first film, Mick Taylor is very much front and centre here, given free rein to terrify, make bad jokes and rant and rant and rant (complete with ridiculous amounts of xenophobic slurs and use of the c-word!). While not all horror movies need to keep their monster hidden, thrusting Mick centre stage for most of the screen time is detrimental to the film. That’s meant as no offence to John Jarret’s very committed performance as he goes at it full tilt as the thoroughly repellent Mick Taylor (and is utterly convincing as a man without a soul) but with more gags, his evil laugh overused to the point of irritation and that by the finale you wish he would just shut the hell up, his character’s edge does seem to be dampened somewhat. This unfortunately means some of the subtle dread of the first film has been jettisoned, also giving way to lashings of more in your face gore, which come the final run just becomes redundant torture porn.
However, on its own trashy sequel terms director Greg Mclean (who helmed the original Wolf Creek and the underrated giant croc film Rogue) still delivers an impressive amount of thrills mainly due to incorporating a ton of insane vehicular stunts and chase sequences. Opting for the bigger is better mantra for the sequel, Mclean mounts several impressively staged and shot chase scenes featuring jeeps, police cars and big rigs and proceeds to smash all of them to hell in spectacular fashion. In fact, for the first hour Mclean jettisons a lot of the gore (aside from the nasty and unnecessarily prolonged death of a couple of characters) and sends Wolf Creek 2 into turbo charged territory and even manages time to incorporate a rampaging herd of kangeroos in one moment of utter lunacy! If the flick had stuck with this vibe before the inevitable return to gratuitous gore in the final stages, Wolf Creek 2 may have been a sequel that upped the stakes of the original while taking proceedings in a different and original direction.
There are flashes of greatness and there is some spectacular scenery and scenes of mayhem but unfortunately, it’s all too much of a straight rehash of the original, turns its greatest asset, its villain, into an annoying caricature and features plenty of lapses of logic (seriously, that guy could of got out the jeep at any time before the truck hit it!) making it a somewhat disappointing follow up. Add another star if you are an avid gore-hound.
Wolf Creek 2 is now available for purchase on DVD and Blu-Ray from Entertainment One and the disc comes with the requisite making of documentary and over 20 minutes of deleted scenes.
Review by Andrew Skeates