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Film: Wolf Creek

Wolf Creek is a 2005 Australian horror film directed by Greg McLean.

Very Loosely Based on a True Story (well, several); two English backpackers named Liz Hunter (Cassandra Magrath) and Kristy Earl (Kestie Morassi), plus an Australian one they pick up at a party named Ben Mitchell (Nathan Phillips), are heading out into the Australian wilderness to see the epononymous Wolf Creek; a crater formed by a meteorite impact. Once they've seen it and are leaving, however, they find that their car won't start. A seemingly friendly mechanic named Mick Taylor (John Jarratt) that seems to perfectly and flamboyantly embody every Australian stereotype rolls along and offers to tow their car back to his garage and fix their car for them. They accept; but it turns out he isn't so friendly.

...boy, were critics divided over this film. Some, such as Roger Ebert, regarded it as nothing more than reprehensible and misogynist exploitation; others, such as Peter Bradshaw, who is possibly the best example of a real-life snobbish, pretentious, impossible-to-impress Straw Film Critic in the world, regarded it as a masterpiece that redefined the horror genre. In any case, the film was a rolicking financial success, grossing $22,500,000 when its production costs were approximately a mere $1,000,000.

A sequel was released in 2014, and there are plans for a pair of prequel novels, one exploring Mick's childhood, and the other showing his time in the Vietnam War.


Wolf Creek provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Both of them, though Liz a bit more than Kristy.
  • Ax-Crazy: Mick.
  • Affably Evil: Mick.
  • Bad Samaritan: Mick.
  • Danger Takes A Back Seat
  • Defensive Failure: Subverted. The woman shoots the killer, but it just passes through his neck and doesn't kill him.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: Almost half the film is pretty aimless build-up.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Mick cuts Liz's fingers off because she wrecked his truck.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Mick again, don't let his welcoming Crocodile Dundeeish mannerism fool ya. He's a Serial Killer and has more in common with Hannibal Lecter than Crocodile Dundee.
  • Final Girl: Inverted gender-wise. Both girls die. Ben survives.
  • Fingore: Mick lops several of Liz's fingers off.
  • Gorn
  • I'd Tell You, but Then I'd Have to Kill You: Mick says this in response to Ben asking him what he does for a living.
  • Ironic Echo: Ben makes a joke saying Mick probably loves saying "that's not a knife; this is a knife". Mick sadistically repeats the line just before he kills Liz
  • Karma Houdini: Mick - he never get punished for the atrocities he committed.
  • Kill the Cutie: Kristy
  • Land Downunder
  • My Car Hates Me
  • Once is Not Enough: At one point, Liz is able to grab one of Mick's guns and shoot him. She grabs the rifle, instead of the shotgun, and shoots Mick once in the neck. And of course, that just pisses him off. If she hadn't also picked up the Idiot Ball she would have given him a few shots in the face just to be sure; there was no reason she couldn't have done this.
    • She did try to shoot him in the back of the head when he went down, but the gun appeared to be out of ammo or otherwise jammed in such a way that she (someone with zero firearms experience) would be unable to fix it.
      • Still, there were several sharp tools strewn about she could have used to off him.
  • Playing Against Type: John Jarratt is a nice guy, and most people probably remember him as the slightly manchildish DIY expert from Better Homes and Gardens. Even more jarringly, he used to host Play School.
  • Serial Killer: Mick.
  • Ship Tease: A deleted scene had Kristy waking up sleeping next to Ben (with her clothes on).
  • Shout-Out: Ben quotes Crocodile Dundee (see Ironic Echo above)
  • Too Dumb to Live: Liz.
  • Unreliable Narrator: One plausible explanation. All the other characters who witnessed Mick's atrocities didn't live to tell the tale. Ben is the only survivor, and he didn't actually witness Mick commit any of his atrocities, so what we see may simply be his story to the police.
  • Vasquez Always Dies: Played straight and subverted. The tomboyish Liz dies first, but the more girly Christie also dies.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: It's actually based on a number of famous Australian murder cases, but Ivan Milat was clearly the strongest influence, based on Taylor's way of selecting victims (backpackers), the switch in demeanour, that it's a man who survives to tell the tale (Paul Onions escaped the real Milat by leaping from a car and running into oncoming traffic), and the way Taylor deals with his victims.

Dawn of the Dead (2004) 100 Scariest Movie MomentsThe Stepford Wives
V/H/SRoger Ebert Most Hated Film List    
WalkaboutAustralian Movies    
Why We Fight 2005Films of 2005 - 2009 Zathura
The Wizard of GoreHorror FilmsThe Wolf Man (1941)

alternative title(s): Wolf Creek
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