After a creepy warning that the film is based on actual events, viewers are informed that thirty thousand people are reported missing in Australia annually. Thankfully, ninety per cent of them are found within a month, but some are never seen again. We are then introduced to Ben (Nathan Phillips), who is seen purchasing a second-hand car in Broome, Western Australia, and getting a local mechanic to give it a full inspection. Once the inspection is finished, Ben drives out and finds his friends Liz (Cassandra Magrath) and Kristy (Kestie Morassi).
Ben, Liz and Kristy are all backpackers, with their next destination being Wolf Creek, where they hope to conduct a three-hour walk. However, instead of travelling directly to Wolf Creek, the trio spend an evening having a wild party and getting heavily drunk before waking up on the nearby beach the following day. Sluggishly continuing on their way the next morning, they make a quick pit stop at Emu Creek. After an altercation, they continue on and soon reach their destination.
With excitement, Ben, Liz and Kristy begin their walk. While walking and enjoying the view, Ben and Liz finally reveal their feelings for one another. But when they return to the car, they discover a significant problem- the car won’t start. With no other choice, they all decide to sleep in the car overnight. Thankfully, a stranger, Mick (John Jarratt), stops and offers to tow them and fix the vehicle so they can continue on their way. With no money or better offers on how to get back on the road, the three agree and take up Mick’s offer. However, after sharing a drink with Mick, the trio wake up and find themselves tied. Now they must suffer horrific torture from Mick, who is a disgusting psychopath.
For those who are not aware, Wolf Creek is, in fact, an Australian horror film with strong thriller aspects. Horror buffs will love this film filled with many uncomfortable moments. It’s violent, contains gore, and has a couple of solid jump scares. Despite not always agreeing with some of Ben, Liz or Kristy’s choices, I still cheered them on and hoped they would survive the nightmare of being tortured and hunted. The leads are wonderfully introduced, and we clearly understand the strong friendship between Ben, Liz and Kristy. Our introduction to Mick is obviously next level. Mick is loud, silly, and downright creepy. Performances here are strong, and John Jarratt as Mick steals the film unintentionally, thanks to his dedication to the gross character and the energy that also flows from him.
Thanks to Director Greg McLean, there’s a wonderful atmosphere on-screen. Many shots show off Australia’s landscape excellently. At the same time, key moments make Australia feel like a creepy place to be. McLean has successfully created unsettling and tense moments to witness. The pacing is excellent, although some may say it takes a little while to get underway, but once Mick is introduced, the film is heightened dramatically before concluding with an unexpected finale.
Overall, it’s no secret that Wolf Creek will not be for everybody, given its story, themes, and the strong level of horrifying violence. However, I’m proud to say I love this Aussie film and am deeply impressed with it for many reasons. The lead performance from John Jarratt as Mick is filled with energy and creepiness. The storyline is filled with tension and a high level of unpredictability, leaving audiences both shocked and disgusted. I loved the visuals created by Greg McLean, who not only captures this horrifying tale excellently but also brings an atmosphere to the screen that makes Australia look tremendous. It also possibly makes Australia a place people will wish to avoid forever.