Monday, January 9, 2012

My review of Wolf Creek

I originally saw a clip of this one while watching...I don't know if it was Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments or if it was Bravo's 30 Even Scarier Movie Moments. Anyway, after a while I decided to check it out.

Acting/characters: By far the star performance of the film is John Jarratt as the sadistic Mick Taylor. In a nutshell, Mick Taylor is what you would get if Crocodile Dundee decided to completely stopped caring about anything, something that the film plays with a little bit actually. When we are first introduced to the character (and, maybe it is simply because we know what kind of film we are getting into) there is something unsettling about him despite how seemingly friendly he is (what the heck is 'rainwater from the top end' supposed to mean!?) The movie only actually has 3 other main characters in it, one of whom is absent through a large chunk of the film. I think that the other 3 actors do a great job as well especially when they are being stalked or attacked by Mick Taylor. They do a good job, but Taylor is by far the best character in the film. Jarratt plays him to perfection and every moment he is onscreen is an unsettling one. In fact, he is equally scary when he is not on screen because you have no idea where he might pop up next. 8.5/10

Plot: Pretty Standard ideas for a horror film actually. 1. you have a stranded group and 2. you have a sadistic killer stalking them. However, this film has a good advantage over others because it is more about playing on fears and keeping the audience on the edge of their seats as opposed to 'how much blood can we put on the screen at one time?' Don't get me wrong, there is blood and gore, but the film does not rely heavily on those aspects. It goes for suspense rather then focusing primarily on the kills. This film is often criticized for being merely an exploitation film. I suppose that it is, but I feel that it is one of the better ones. It is certainly more effective than all of the Saw sequels. It did set itself up for a sequel in its own way (coming in 2012 or 2013). The way the film ended I think is the best way to have it end. If it had ended any other way I think it would have been far less effective. It may be sickening at parts, but I enjoyed watching it. 8.5/10

Screenplay: Mick Taylor's dialogue had to be improvised (and it often was). I don't know if there is any way to correctly write a character like Mick Taylor to the point where someone can play him well. The dialogue of the rest of the characters was okay as well I suppose. Nothing in there that really stood out as really good or really bad. It could have been improved a little bit I suppose, but it was fine for the rest of the cast. It was awesome for Mick Taylor though. 8/10

Likableness: I actually really enjoyed this film. I was wary going into it thinking that it may cross my line for what I actually enjoy watching in a horror film, but I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed it. I know that I am in the minority with that one for sure. The movie was not immensely well received by critics overall (but still not too bad I suppose). The film started off slow and only got edge-of-your-seat when Mick Taylor showed up. This is a film that I would actually suggest to any horror fans out there and I would not mind watching this one again. It is strictly for horror fans of course. If you like Rom Coms, this movie is definitely not your thing and never will be. as a horror fan though, I highly enjoyed it. I look forward to seeing the sequel coming sometime next year I believe. I enjoyed this film. 8.5/10

Final Score: 33.5/40 83% (N)
Tomatometer Rating: 53%
Tomatometer Rating if my review was added: 53%

TRIVIA TIME: 1. The crater in the film is really in Western Australia, but it is spelled "Wolfe Creek" in reality.

2.  Unbeknown to the crew the abandoned mine where they chose to film had actually been the site of the real life murder of a woman. The filming prompted a protest from locals who erroneously thought the film was about those events.

3.  There had been no rainfall for ten years in the area where the backpackers park their car before setting off for the crater, but it started raining as soon as the crew arrived. In the end, director Greg McLean was happy it rained, as it added to the ominous atmosphere of the scene.

4.  According to stars Cassandra McGrath and Kestie Morassi the scenes shot on the beach early in the film may look warm on screen, but were actually freezing. It was so cold that for the scene where Mcgrath runs out into the ocean, all of the crew were behind camera in hats and gloves. According to Magrath, when she got out of the water, she was so cold, she literally couldn't remember her own name.

5.  A very eerie coincidence occurred for the second unit crew sent out to get footage of the Wolf Creek Crater. Since the location was many hours from any town the small crew decided to camp out in their car at the site after shooting. During the night a mysterious stranger showed up in a truck to investigate. The stranger indeed looked very much like the character of Mick Taylor, right down to the rustic truck. The stranger left, but the crew was so spooked that they drove an hour down the road before finally stopping to camp for the night.

6.  John Jarratt is a method actor and spent weeks living in the Australian desert preparing for the role of Mick Taylor. In addition he also avoided bathing before shooting so he would have a much more rugged appearance. Furthermore, the idea for Mick to have a creepy laugh was Jarratt own (he says it took him four months to get it just right). Cassandra Mgrath said that John Jarratt's sinister laugh gave her nightmares. he also created a detailed biography for the character (although he wouldn't reveal the details to anyone).

7.  Although the advertising for the film claims it was based on true events, this is not entirely accurate. The film was influenced by the Ivan Milat and Bradley John Murdoch cases, but it was not based specifically on any one event, and the four principal characters are all entirely fictitious.

If you go out into the heart of the Australian Outback and scream as loud as you can not a soul will hear you...

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