Desperate to repay his debt to his ex-wife, an ex-con plots a heist at his new employer's country home, unaware that a second criminal has also targeted the property, and rigged it with a series of deadly traps.
After kidnapping and brutally assaulting two young women, a gang unknowingly finds refuge at a vacation home belonging to the parents of one of the victims: a mother and father who devise an increasingly gruesome series of revenge tactics.
Best friends Marie and Alexia decide to spend a quiet weekend at Alexia's parents' secluded farmhouse. But on the night of their arrival, the girls' idyllic getaway turns into an endless night of horror.
Three backpackers travel into the Australian Outback only to find themselves stranded at Wolf Creek crater. Once there, they are encountered by a bushman, Mick Taylor, who offers them a ride back to his place. Little do the three know that their adventure into the Outback would be a complete nightmare after the backpackers find a way to escape.
If you asked an average movie-goer why the like movies, the responses you'd get would be things like, "I like to laugh", or "I like good twist endings" . Or possibly, "What the hell kind of question is that?" What it all boils down to, though, is that we go to the movies to experience things above and beyond real life; a funny movie is funny because expert screenwriter worked for months on the jokes, a thriller is thrilling because professional directors shot and put together the film in a thrilling way. Real life, of course, never plays out like that... so we often seek entertainment, even comfort in imitation of real life that has a meaning, a point, a message. When films like "Wolf Creek" come along, however, the effect it has on most people is one of violation; no one, no matter what they say, goes to the movies to be traumatized.
What this means is you get "controversy". Critics like films to be thought-provoking, but there is something about this kind of brutality that, in Roger Ebert's words, "crosses the line". I think what lies at the heart of this is that this kind of film evolved from the genre "horror", and it is still put under that category, whereas in fact "Wolf Creek" is amongst a select few contemporary films to have taken "horror" so far that it has become something else entirely, something worse, something better, something almost outside the universe of film.
There have been examples of this in the past, from 1978's "I Spit On Your Grave" to 2006's infamous "Hostel", films that have called society's bluff on the extent to which a movie can take its audience on a ride. It is almost a new, neologistic use of the word 'film', like an infiltration, or hi-jacking of both the medium and the audience. Giving them more than they bargained for. Some of the bad reviews and harsh criticism of the film comes from judging it by the same standards and measures as other, normal films. "Wolf Creek" is not one of these, it is a deeply disturbing imposition on a somewhat unsuspecting audience that, like it or not, is extremely effective.
Of course the issue of whether this makes for good entertainment is debatable. Teenagers will probably love "Wolf Creek", now that it's out on DVD where they can access it no hassles. There are probably some old school "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" fans who saw something special in this. And it certainly shows a diversity to the Australian film industry, which has never before produced anything this nightmarishly brutal. But I would, regardless, not be the least bit surprised if this movie is seen as one of the definitive instalments in a new, darker, dare-devil type of film.
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