Often, when waiting for more than a couple of years for a sequel, we feel let down. It either fails to recapture the energy of the original or the story is a lazy retread. Sad, but true. With that in mind, I wasn’t sure how Wolf Creek 2 would play out. The original came in 2005 and things have been all but quiet since. What was my experience like? I jumped with fear, my mouth sat open half the time in disbelief at the levels of depravity that the film exposed me to. Wolf Creek 2 ups the ante significantly and is not only a good sequel, it delivers on the rule we learned the first time around: “Don’t ever stop in the Outback."
Wolf Creek 2 starts with a bang…literally. Two police officers have the worst detail ever, highway patrol in the middle of nowhere, when they decide to harass a lone passerby in an old blue truck. A passerby named Mick Taylor. After being lied to and belittled, he is saddled with a ticket and left standing, humiliated. Well out comes the hunting rifle and Mick quickly reasserts himself. Yes, Wolf Creek 2 begins in an explosion of blood which sets the stage for what’s in store.
After the opening teaser, we are introduced to a backpacking German couple who are making their way to Wolf Creek. Katarina Schmidt (Shannon Ashlyn) and Rutger Enqvist (Philippe Klaus) are a likeable couple who are traveling across the country. They have plans and dreams and we are easily sucked into their relationship. Unfortunately for them, they come across Mick, or rather, he comes across them. What starts off as another trophy opportunity for Mick, turns into a hunt with others being sucked into the bloodshed. Paul Hammersmith (Ryan Corr) is a bystander who makes the mistake of stopping to help, dragging him into the middle of the madness and actually becoming the centerpiece of the pursuit. He’s a likable male lead which switches things up for the genre in a great way and works perfectly for the story.
Wolf Creek 2 plays almost like a superhero film in the sense that the first took time setting up the situations and then the second lets the character cut loose. This is Mick Taylor in all his bloody glory. His rifle and knife, bullwhip, grinder, even a semi-truck, Mick is large and in charge and in some instances, harder to watch.
Greg Mclean smartly dives right into the action this time and unleashes the brutality within the character without ever feeling that he is just adding shock for shock’s sake. The first film was about the backpackers and the evil they came across. This film is about the evil and what it is truly capable of. Mclean does this without sacrificing character on either side. We feel for the backpackers and those who come across their path which makes every moment tense. Another thing I liked was being able to explore Mick’s world a bit. We get more of a sense of what goes on in his head by exploring his home, the old mine. Not giving anything away, but the place is a den of no escape. It was truly terrifying and I compare it to the dungeon from Megan is Missing as far as its head damage factor goes.
Wolf Creek 2 is a welcome return of the character and situations. It’s balls out horror like we haven’t seen in a long time and offers up so good surprises, especially at the end. Director Mclean proves that neither he, nor Mick Taylor, have gone soft with the passage of time. I only hope we can revisit them soon, when the next poor sap makes the mistake of stopping in the Outback.