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Wolf Creek (2005)
Excruciatingly painful to watch..but not in a bad way
Wolf Creek is not an easy movie to watch. For me, I think what clinched that opinion was the fact that it is so realistic, because, in the vast Australian outback, it would be possible for a Mick Taylor to prey on unsuspecting backpackers in the anonymity of the desert, where a sadistic killer could do whatever he wanted to you without fear of discovery or retribution.
Greg McLean expertly plays on tension and the fear of the audience. The slow build up not only allows for more suspense, but to empathize with the characters so that when they are being tortured, you feel for them much more. The three main characters are so convincing and there lines seem real and improvised, not recited.
And as for John Jarret as Mick Taylor...Bravo. It would take dedication to acting and to the role to be able to channel Mick so well. Jarret plays Mick so well that his mannerisms don't reveal a hint of disgust at his character, of empathy, just callousness and cold-hearted, and be able to perform things like torture and even implied rape without getting out of character.
Wolf Creek is based on two significant murder cases: The murder of British tourist Peter Falconio and the assault of his girlfriend Joanne Lees by Bradley John Murdoch, and, even more significant, the infamous "Backpacker Murders" in which Ivan Milat tortured and murdered seven young European tourists. Among Milat's tortures was to sever his victims spines with a bowie knife to create a "head on a stick," in one of the most famous scenes in the movie.
In my opinion, Wolf Creek is sorely underrated, which is a shame because it is an excellent movie thats stays with you for a long time.