Wolf Creek 2
John Jarrett stars as a menacing killer in this horror that suffers from some odd shifts in tone
If you like brutal, bloody horror, 2005 was a particularly good year. Hostel, Saw II, The Devil's Rejects and a certain Wolf Creek were all released. The latter offered a pleasingly different take, directed by Australian Greg McLean and set in the Outback; audiences were so used to American horror that just a slight change of perspective helped it stand out from the pack. Now eight years later MacLean returns to the scene of the crime.
Wolf Creek 2 is a bit more schizophrenic than its predecessor. It starts out as you'd expect, with two young German backpackers (Shannon Ashlyn and Philippe Klaus) travelling across Australia. Once again proving hitchhiking is the horror character's most dangerous form of transport, they soon run into serial killer Mick Taylor (John Jarrett). At this point, the film morphs into a chase movie, with echoes of Spielberg's man vs truck thriller Duel, before swerving back into slasher territory, with a nod to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, for the final showdown.
There's a genuine air of menace about Mick Taylor. Jarrett really brings the character to life, the chatty and unpredictable mass murderer coming across like Crocodile Dundee's evil twin. Once again the vast, empty Outback looks stunning: it's an impressive and imposing backdrop, the wide open spaces actually imprisoning our characters with the threat of sunstroke and dehydration. However, while Wolf Creek was a gritty, intense, uncomfortable watch, the sequel is far more comedic and action-orientated, with some odd shifts in tone that lessen the film's impact and turn it into a far more generic slasher. It's entertaining enough if all you require is a dash of gore and a few one liners, but this wolf has lost its bite.