Since a friend of mine and her husband were murdered by a couple of thrill killers in northern Queensland in the 70's, I'd resisted seeing this film until yesterday, and then only watched it to see what all the fuss was about, rather than for any enjoyment. 'Wolf Creek' is not exactly an experience to be enjoyed - it's dark and elusive and frightening, and it's been made to scare the viewer, to leave you feeling out of control, just as the 3 young travellers must have felt. Whilst there were signatures of the Ivan Milat killings throughout this film, it is chiefly a work of fiction. This film is best viewed with little prior information, since ignorance of plot outcomes heightens the scare-factor.
For me, the slow and leisurely beginning to this film was necessary, firstly to introduce us to the 3 young people on an adventure of a lifetime - we had to know them and like them, and perhaps even identify with them - and secondly, to lull us into a sense of safety and security, as a sharp contrast to the events of the last half of the film. The scenery is exquisite, in particular the aerial shots of the meteor crater at Wolfe Creek. This creates a sense of openness and beauty, in contrast to the dark and claustrophobic environment of the disused mine (called 'Navitalim', Ivan Milat spelled backwards - cheeky!) the lair of Mick, the bad guy.
John Jarratt's Mick pervades the whole of the last half of the movie. Even when not in shot he's in your mind. I got the impression that Jarratt really enjoyed creating Mick. Jarratt has been around for a long time, so his skills at portraying larrikins are well known in this country. Heck - John Jarratt IS the definitive Aussie larrikin, so being Mick was possibly not a huge stretch for him. I was more impressed by Cassandra McGrath as Liz (she played Miranda in 'Sea Change'), and I'm continually surprised we don't see more of her in other film & TV projects.
If you're looking for a conventional slasher movie, then this will not appeal, since any horror is implied rather than in your face. If you're a sensitive soul, it'll scare the pants off you. This is a genuine attempt by Greg McLean to make an artistic piece, thus the nature of the first half of the film. To his credit, McLean also constructs this movie for us to experience the horror along with the protagonists, rather than having taken the easy way out and thrown together a voyeuristic slasher flick.
This is not a predictable formula movie, and for that I'm relieved. See it if you dare!
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