Wolf Creek 2 finds Mick Taylor up to his old tricks: He tangles with the law, teaches a lesson to a couple of foreign backpackers, and that all happens in the first act. Beyond that, the film goes to a somewhat unexpected but very entertaining place, so I will avoid sparing any more details in order to keep this review as spoiler free as possible.
Wolf Creek 2 is very effectively paced; once it gets going, it never slows down. It is entertaining from start to finish.
The film succeeds, thanks in no small part to John Jarratt’s portrayal of Mick Taylor. The Mick Taylor character is slightly more developed in this film than in the first. The story draws the viewer in and makes them almost identify with Taylor. That was a smart move on writer/director Greg McLean’s part because endearing the viewer to the villain is a key component to launching a successful horror franchise. If the Wolf Creek series keeps delivering quality films, Mick Taylor is poised to become the next Freddy Krueger or Jason Voorhees.
The script is clever. McLean has started to shift the franchise out of the torture cinema sub-genre and made an ever so slightly more character driven horror film with Wolf Creek 2 than he did with the original. This is a smart move on McLean’s part, as many genre fans seem to be growing bored with the senseless exploitation of violence and are gravitating towards films with more dynamic characters.
While John Jarratt’s performance is the real standout in Wolf Creek 2, all of other players did quality work as well. Mick Taylor is the only character that jumps out but none of the performers do a bad job.
Greg Mclean is proving that he is a talented director and that Rogue and Wolf Creek were more than just beginner’s luck. He is establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with in the genre film arena.
In addition to shifting gears a bit, Mclean has also added an element of suspense that steers the film away from being solely a horror picture and earns the film consideration as a psychological thriller as well.
This feature is well scored. Johnny Klimek (who scored Wolf Creek) shows great competence as a composer. The audio cues induce jumps at all of the right times as well as show a certain sense of humor at others.
The only things I have to complain about is the production’s apparent lack of a reliable light source. The film is incredibly dark in some scenes, to the point where I was straining to make out what was happening onscreen. It is expected that an independent production will have some budgetary constraints and therefore have to allocate the budget accordingly, but this film had a big enough budget to invest in a better light source. Beyond that, Wolf Creek 2 doesn’t have any gaping flaws. It’s a very well rounded film.
Wolf Creek 2 is available via VOD and DVD. It’s a sequel that is absolutely worth seeking out.
Director(s): Greg McLean
Writer(s): Greg McLean, Aaron Sterns
Stars: John Jarratt, Ryan Corr
Year: 2014 (US)
Studio/ Production Co: Emu Creek Pictures
Budget: $7 Million
Length: 106 Minutes
Sub-Genre: Backwoods Slasher