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Before hunkering down for "real life," twentysomethings Ben, Liz and Kristy decide to go on a road trip across the Australian Outback. Their first destination: Wolf Creek National Park, where a meteor left its mark back in 1947. A three-hour hike of the mysterious site seems to be going well until the trio returns to find their car won't start. With night already upon them, they conclude that they'll have to wait until morning to get help. But to their surprise, they're soon rescued by a local bushman named Mick, who not only offers to tow their car back to his place but also to fix the vehicle.
The threesome eventually retires around a fire at Mick's campsite, confident that the stranger is completely trustworthy. A night of sweet dreams under the stars quickly turns into a nightmare, however, as Ben, Liz and Kristy each wake up alone—in the hands of a psychopathic serial killer.
Liz risks her life to rescue Kristy and also stays relatively calm during harrowing events. She assures Kristy that they'll make it out alive. Ben also comforts the girls on a couple of occasions with an optimistic outlook. Strangers stop to help the stranded travelers.
In an extremely disturbing and drawn-out scene, Mick prepares to rape Kristy in the midst of torturing her. While Kristy screams in terror, he does unspeakable (and unprintable) things and makes repulsive sexual comments.
Ben and Liz kiss a few times. After waking up on the beach, she strips down to her underwear and takes a dip in the ocean. We briefly see her bare back in the water. At a gas station, a group of men make vile remarks while ogling the two girls. In the process, several gay jokes are made about Ben.
Multiply the nauseating gore enjoyed by Hannibal Lecter a few times and you'll wind up with Wolf Creek's psychopath, Mick, who has a poster board full of his victims' pictures. Young girls, middle-aged men, entire families—they're all there as casualties of his sick "game" that involves enticing them back to his camp to mutilate them. Their bloody body parts and corpses are shown hanging and rotting around his camp.
Ben is "crucified"—wrapped to a beam with wire, hands nailed to a board with large pins. To escape, he rips his hands through the pins. (The camera catches every grueling second and goes in for extreme close-ups.) For part of her terrifying torture/rape sequence, a bloodied and beat up Kristy is shot at.
Mick cuts Liz's fingers off during a struggle. (We see a close-up of the severed fingers and what's left of Liz's hand.) He stabs her in the back (twice) with a large knife. And he makes a point of digging the knife around inside.
Sick to your stomach yet? I sure was watching this stuff. In virtually every case of Mick's inhumane killings, we get both harrowing visuals and spine-chilling screams.
A few other people are shot, with plenty of blood sprayed across windshields and camera lenses. After Kristy is gunned down while driving, her car rolls. Mick then shoots her twice from point-blank range. A vehicle gets pushed off a cliff.
Crude or Profane Language
Almost 30 f-words pop up in dialogue and writing, while more than a dozen s-words are spoken. God's name is abused twice; Jesus' three times. More than 25 mild profanities and vulgar terms (including the c-word) get tossed in just for good measure, it would seem.
Drug and Alcohol Content
Liz and Kristy light up frequently and share puffs. A few other characters are also shown smoking. Before embarking on their road trip, the vacationers throw a party with friends that includes lots of liquor, hard lemonade and beer. A group does shots around a table, and friends pour alcohol over Ben. In the morning, they all wake up with empty bottles lying around. Mick drugs the trio by putting something in their drinks.
Other Negative Elements
Ben urinates on the side of the road.
You can blame the original Saw for this mess that can hardly be classified as a movie. Just two years ago, a young Australian director/screenwriter penned a bloodfest of a script which made it into the hands of a distributor willing to invest a few bucks to put the film in theaters. The main character? A psychopathic serial killer. The subject? Torture, depicted in hideous ways. Made for less than $1 million, the film grossed $55 million in the U.S., and its sequel has raked in nearly $90 million.
Now it's another Aussie's turn, as little-known director/screenwriter Greg McLean gets his chance to turn another plotless, pointless story into a plotless, pointless movie that does nothing but celebrate crazed violence and wallow in perversity.
So what if Wolf Creek is loosely based on real-life tragedies? I'm still trying to understand how dousing viewers with such a torrent of viciously cruel images qualifies as entertainment. It's one thing for, say, a documentary to carefully expose the heinous crimes of a madman. It's an entirely different thing to go straight to glorifying maniacal killings���which is exactly what Wolf Creek does.
But as long as audiences keep filling the coffers of the senseless slasher-flick system, we're going to keep seeing these types of demented blood-dreams splashed across big screens. And quite a few more wannabe filmmakers' macabre wishes are going to come true at the multiplex—some of them, as is the case here, on Christmas Day.
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Cassandra Magrath as Liz Hunter; Kestie Morassi as Kristy Earl; Nathan Phillips as Ben Mitchell; John Jarratt as Mick Taylor
Greg McLean ( )