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Yep... Another Reader's Been To WOLF CREEK!

Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab...

Now, this guy doesn’t mention if he saw the film at Fantastic Fest, and it actually sounds like he’s Australian, but with WOLF CREEK still waiting for its American release, one more peek at the film can’t hurt, right?

It’s interesting, loving genre movies but living in a country with an inability to produce much more than TV movie quality dreck. Mostly, it’s dressed to look like something more intelligent, usually by shooting soft focus or some other overused film school techniques. Somersault, Little Fish, Peaches, bah! These films don’t have audiences; you go to them as a charity. You sit through them, cursing the screen, wondering why movies about oppressed minorities and heroin addicts are the only films being made by middle class guilt suffering filmmakers.

Recently though, a few films have appeared to buck the trend, The Proposition, Wolf Creek. I was excited. Actually I was excited when The Spierig Brothers’ Undead came out a few years back. But it was alone on the cinematic map, a lone genre film without backup, and was picked apart by dingos. That was a great $1 million dollar movie that looked like it cost much more. Fuckin’ A.

So when, years later, the industry finally produces something that is uniquely Australian and a flick that punters want to go see, well then, that’s the right step for the Australian film industry. Build a foundation of honest, getting down to business, Australian genre movies that punters will go to and then make the artsy fartsy self absorbed crap. “Oh!” industry experts cry “we don’t have the budgets for that! We can’t compete with blockbusters!” Well, currently you can’t compete with drama either, so why don’t you rent Undead and figure out how they made it?

Well, that would be the plan, Aussie genre takeover. Westerns. Horror. Great times. Or it would be if Wolf Creek was actually good or scary. It’s not - and I’m yanking out hair by the handful, screaming into the desert, ‘why?’ - It coulda been a contender.

Hype. Advertising. Who knows what had me convinced of it’s jesus ability to resurrect Australian genre film. Did Dimension pay $4 million for this sight unseen? Maybe that’s what it was. They say Wolf Creek is a scary film. It ain’t. They said it would be a violent film. It wasn’t. Intense? Forget about it. Gory? Ha! Friday the 13th Part IV is a better movie. At least Crispin Glover and Corey Feldman were in that. And Savini gore. This is an R18+ movie (like NC-17) but isn’t much more bloody than even the tamest most trite horror films. The Grudge remake was scarier (even the missing tongue part in The Grudge was bloodier than anything in this and it’s rated PG-13, yeah?). The Scream movies are positively blood drenched compared to this. Rent The Beyond instead and watch someone’s face melt. The part in Twister when you see some of The Shining playing at a drive in is scarier. Really, I can’t stress enough how tame tame tame tame tame tame tame tame tame tame tame tame tame tame tame this film was. And reviewers who say otherwise are either lying or thought AvP was scary. Tame.

(spoilers)

A few fingers get cut off. A knife to the spine in the dark. And someone gets shot, in a wide shot.

(end spoilers)

Oh, it’s scary and violent and not for kids because it’s ‘realistic’. Is it ‘cus the villain is a human? A hick? Sorry, but this film still panders to almost every genre cliché that there is. The heroine needs to go back into the killers lair. The heroine can’t start the car. With magic-outback-psychic powers the killer is in the back seat, knowing exactly which car she’d try. He can teleport down highways to prime sniper locations. Psychic powers are not realistic, and you’re disappointed when they’re introduced and it’s not full blown like Rutger Haur’s character in The Hitcher. The killer even has an evil laugh (it sounds like Peter Jackson’s character Derrick’s laugh in Bad Taste. Rent that instead.) Real life TV forensics shows are scarier in their depiction of evil, and they’re on free to air at 8:30PM.

Oh, it’s ‘realistic’ because you spend a lot of time ‘establishing’ these characters. Hmph. Wolf Creek takes too long establishing them. Why do people keep saying that this is any more real than a TV soap? Is it ‘cus they don’t have American accents? Seriously, I was sad that these backpacking British and Aussie guide weren’t made to hurt more. Sure, the acting from the leads is fine and elements of this movie are okay. There’s some nice panoramic shots of the outback. The music is atmospheric (but do they need to use the patented Texas Chainsaw metal saw music stab? There’s enough comparison as it is.) And despite problems I had with the character you can’t fault John Jarrett, he’s entertaining. But these characters don’t do anything but drink then drive and pash and some die.

And then the movie ends. Suddenly title cards are telling the audience the rest of the story. The credits are rolling. And you’re thinking to yourself, is this the intermission? Fuck it, you don’t care otherwise, because you leave anyway, cursing another missed opportunity in the Australian film industry.

If you print it, call me… Ninja Co.

Sounds like he had much the same reaction I did to the ending, which is so abrupt that it feels like there’s a reel missing. It’s a frustrating end to what is otherwise a pretty good little movie.

"Moriarty" out.





Readers Talkback
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  • Oct. 7, 2005, 10:25 p.m. CST

    It actually sounds like he's Australian?

    by seppukudkurosawa

    This is the most Australian sounding review I've ever read. In fact it couldn't be any more Australian. You could say, it's none more Australian. Which is to say I liked it and it was well-written, with personality in spades. Though I have to say I questioned your true Aussieness when you started talking about Dingos. Do Aussies really bring up the mention of Dingos out of nowhere? I'll let you off the hook for that, thanks Ninja for the entertaining review/rant.

  • Oct. 7, 2005, 10:59 p.m. CST

    It shouldn't really be amazing Mori

    by seppukudkurosawa

    we've been knee-jerk assholes for most of our lives- and the WHOLE of AICN's life- and I doubt we're planning to buck the trend now. I actually wasn't trying to call you out, I was more in the mood for going on a rant about the Antipodes than anything.

  • Oct. 8, 2005, 12:13 a.m. CST

    Christ Mori what do you expect?

    by Bean_

    A decent talk back? You know where to find that. :P

  • Oct. 8, 2005, 1:26 a.m. CST

    by velum

    The reviewer is right, I saw this movie a couple of weeks ago and it is far from scary.

  • Oct. 8, 2005, 1:33 a.m. CST

    And there was me...

    by Ken Luxury Yacht

    ...thinking talkback was here for us to discuss the film / opinion in the article. What a poltroon I was. But, in an effort to bring things back on track - "Wolf Creek" really is a disappointment. Don't believe the hype kids. It's not scary (although lord knows it tries), it's not gory (certainly not in a NC17, 18 Certificate way) and it's not particularly engaging. Shame really. That's not to say it doesn't have it's moments, unfortunately they are all ripped from better movies, from "TCM" to the "Road Warrior". Oh well, better luck next time.

  • Oct. 8, 2005, 1:53 a.m. CST

    Is this the story it's based on?

    by Trik

    http://tinyurl.com/2zt22

  • Oct. 8, 2005, 2:01 a.m. CST

    Ninja Co, fuck you

    by Monkey Butler

    Little Fish was incredible. And yes, Wolf Creek was inspired by Ivan Milat's murders, as well as, I've heard, the Snow Town cannibalism murders.

  • Oct. 8, 2005, 2:48 a.m. CST

    I wholeheartedly agree

    by Bob Harris

    I just left the second screening of Wolf Creek and felt ripped off. The positive hype for this movie is immense, and the film no where nears it. You should really go see a film that has much more realistic reactions to being hunted down and killed...FEAST!! I find it hilarious that Feast had no where near the positive buzz that Wolf Creek had, but it's FAR better. FEAST FEAST FEAST!!! Forget the Creek!

  • Oct. 8, 2005, 3:29 a.m. CST

    The films decent enough, but not as great as some would like you

    by alucardvsdracula

    The film reminded me of Switchblade Romance (AKA High Tension), as in both were over-rated. The first half of Wolf Creak is very pedestrian to say the least, but it does set up the characters in a fashion so you do care for them. Things pick up when the slimey 'Mick' comes into it, to commence his work on the three tourists. As for the "Head on a Stick" scene, it's nowhere near as horrific as some have said, but it's quite nasty all the same. In a nut-shell Wolf Creak is a good little low-budget Ozzie horror flick, but that's all.

  • Oct. 8, 2005, 12:16 p.m. CST

    "The film reminded me of Switchblade Romance (AKA High Tension),

    by Bob Harris

    This is exactly what I said on the way home. And to answer President Evil, no, it was not scary. It had those moments of "Don't go in there/do that," but they are not enough.

  • Oct. 9, 2005, 12:18 a.m. CST

    People, just remember...

    by Ridge

    The movie was made for what, 1.3 mil? A low budget movie for sure, and Evil Dead 2 was in the same ballpark I'm sure. But what I'm getting at is that mediocre movie or not, they paid 7.5 million for this movie, thats 8.8 mil so far they have to get back in theory so of course they're going to add tags like 'scariest movie ever' etc etc. I mean, the dvd of BOOGEYMAN has 'Scariest movie ever' on the front of it. Marketing ploys, thats all they are. I'll see Wolf Creek, not because its supposedly horrifying etc etc, but because I want to see another australian movie. I thought Undead was pissweak and pretty average as a movie, but as a low budget indie australian flick of the most 'indie' kind, it was a hell of an accomplishment and full kudos for it!

  • Oct. 9, 2005, 2:24 a.m. CST

    by Sithlord_999

  • Oct. 9, 2005, 2:24 a.m. CST

    by Sithlord_999

  • Oct. 9, 2005, 7:48 a.m. CST

    WOLF CREEK is great. Go fuck yourself!

    by scrooged

    I think the review has seen to uch PG-13 crap lately. He missed the point of the scenes. Its terrifying, I hope the reviewer dies like Kristie.

  • Oct. 10, 2005, 6:24 p.m. CST

    I Heart Ninja Co

    by BannedOnTheRun

    I won't be seeing this, but the boy can write.