FILM: Wolf Creek (R)
by Amy Diaz
Don’t travel to the interior of any foreign country and don’t trust solitary bushmen who offer to fix your car are the lessons we learn in Wolf Creek, a movie that gleefully piles on the gore and takes a surprising amount of time getting us to care about the obvious victims.
Two British girls (Cassandra Magrath and Kestie Morassi) and a boy from Sydney (Nathan Phillips) embark on a long road trip through the Australian outback. We get scenes of their preparations — the boys buy a car, the girls discuss which one of them the boy likes — and of their trip, just three attractive 20-somethings headed for adventure and some big craters. (Why craters? Why not?) Once at the crater, one of the girls even starts a little somethin’ somethin’ with the boy — it’s oh so very jolly.
Then, of course, all that fun comes to an end when they return to their car to find it can’t start. They settle in for a semi-terrified night of sleep in the middle of nowhere but then — salvation! — a man in a truck (John Jarrett) arrives with an offer of help. Sure, he’s slightly creepy and he wants to take them back to his camp to replace their broken part. And sure, the girls have a bad feeling about it, but they ultimately decide, ah heck, what could happen?
After falling asleep at the campfire in the abandoned mining town where the man lives, they wake to find themselves in various states of restraint — one girl is tied up and left in a trailer, one girl is tied to a pole in the bushman’s barn for easy sexual assault access and the boy is crucified in yet another dank location awaiting his eventual eating by dogs. Nobody gets out of this well but, unlike your standard American movie, surprisingly, people die in far more unpleasant and dispiriting ways than normal.
And, actually, the waking-in-unpleasant-places is essentially the end of the plot and the beginning of the extended chase that makes up most of the movie. Will they get caught? Well, of course, some of them have to. It’s no fun to see a horror movie where everyone lives.
Wolf Creek takes some care in introducing its victims but doesn’t put a whole lot of thought into offing them. There’s nothing particularly wrong with the horror in Wolf Creek except that, after the initial scare, it starts to get boring. By about the halfway point, there’s little more to keep the movie going than fact that it has to keep going to get to the end.