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.

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

This film provides examples of:

  • Bad Samaritan: Two British tourists and a local guy are hiking in Australia when their car breaks down. They are picked up by a man named Mick Taylor, who offers to drive them to his home and fix their car. The man turns out to be a serial killer.
  • Badass Grandpa: Jack in the sequel. As Paul hides in his house, he confronts Mick who is standing outside. Jack sternly and aggressively orders him to leave and to prove that he means business, aims his shotgun at Mick. Too bad Mick soon gets the upper hand.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Well, it IS set in Australia...
  • Danger Takes A Back Seat: The main character, believing she's gotten away from Mick Taylor, gets into a car, then hears his distinctive chuckle in the seat behind her, right before he stabs her in the back.
  • Decoy Protagonists: Done in the sequel, which follows a backpacking couple initially until Mick crashes their camp and kills the boyfriend. The girlfriend gets away and manages to hitch a ride with the real protagonist, Paul. The girlfriend would shortly die afterwards, and we follow Paul the rest of the film as he tries to escape Mick.
    • Done in the original as well, actually. Liz shares a lot of common traits with the standard Final Girl only to die first. The focus then shifts to Kristy, who's coming across like the surprise Final Girl..... only to be murdered by Mick as well just before she escapes. Then Ben, who had vanished for about an hour at this point, escapes from Mick and survives as the final boy.
  • Defensive Failure: Subverted. The woman shoots the killer, but the bullet just grazes his neck, causing him to pass out.
  • 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.
  • Evil Laugh: Mick has a rather unsettling snigger. John Jarrett worked on the evil laugh for six months when he was cast.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Mick. 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.
    • Also inverted in the sequel, where Paul is the only survivor.
  • Fingore: Mick lops several of Liz's fingers off.
  • Gorn: Heavily present in both, but the "Head on a Stick" scene is particularly graphic.
  • 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 Warranty:Mick Taylor's finally runs out in the miniseries. Just when it looks like he will kill the protagonist Eve and once again get away with his crimes,she get's her hands on a poker. Cue Karmic Death.
  • Land Downunder: The setting for both movies
  • My Car Hates Me: Invoked. Mick sabotages the trio's car in the first Wolf Creek so that he can kill them.
  • 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.
  • 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. Jack and Lil, the old couple from the second film also qualify.
  • 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.
  • What Does She See in Him?: Ben is travelling with two girls, hot, curvy blonde Kristy, and skinny brunette Liz. Guess who he has a crush on.