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