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 eponymous 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.
In 2013, McLean decided to expand on the Mick Taylor mythos with a series of projects across several media. A film sequel was released in 2014, depicting Taylor going after a new set of victims and hunting one male tourist in particular across the country. A pair of prequel novels were written with the aid of well known Australian horror authors, one (Origin) exploring Mick's childhood and the beginnings of his proclivities as he comes of age, and the other (Desolation Game) showing his time in the Vietnam War and the start of his predatory stalker tendencies back home in the Outback. Most recently, the Wolf Creek television miniseries sequel explores what would happen if someone actually fought back against Mick and tracked him down out of vengeance for him slaughtering her family (in this case, an American girl named Eve) and the various risks she exposes herself to in doing so, including having to evade law enforcement (who quite rightly want to send her back to the US for her own well being and as she's breaking laws in her mission) and various other criminal entities roaming the desert. A second season, featuring Mick targeting a busload of tourists in the Outback, came out in late 2017.
Now has a character sheet.
This film provides examples of:
- Action Girl: Both of them, though Liz a bit more than Kristy. And Eve in the TV series definitely counts, as well.
- Artifact Title: Of sorts. While it might be occasionally glimpsed in the sequel/prequel entries, the eponymous meteorite crater is definitely not focussed on. Mick and the vast desolate Outback itself are the central, recurring characters, and furthermore the possibly otherworldly aspects of Wolf Creek (implied to fizzle out electronics with it's rare metal deposits, perhaps) are not recurring features in the other works (i.e. cell phones are not really a plot point anymore).
- Asshole Victim:
- The cops in the second film who try to nail Mick for speeding even when he was under the speed limit.
- Kevin, Eve's would-be rapist in the TV series, is castrated and hung upside down by Mick.
- Awesome Aussie: Mick Taylor is an evil version of this trope, being a Serial Killer version of Mick Dundee.
- 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.
- Deadly Road Trip
- 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: The first half of the film is getting to know the protagonists on their holiday - as well as Liz and Ben making a love connection. True to the trope, Mick shows up about twenty minutes in (although it's not apparent he's a psychopath at first).
- Disproportionate Retribution: Mick cuts Liz's fingers off because she wrecked his truck. This is a central driver for Mick; press any of his numerous triggers or wrong him slightly, and you better hope you have a supercharged car to get away from him in time. You're just as likely to be his victim merely by falling into his radar, however.
- Double Tap: People always forget to do this to Mick.
- 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.
- Played straight in the TV series. Eve is the sole survivor of Mick's rampage this time around, and came the closest anyone has been to actually killing him.
- Fingore: Mick lops several of Liz's fingers off.
- Flanderization: In the first movie, Mick "jokes" about how he sees foreigners as "vermin", but doesn't express this belief for the remainder of the movie. Come the sequel, xenophobia is his defining motive to kill.
- Gorn: Heavily present in all media, 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. As it turns out he might as well have discussed his profession anyway...
- 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
- Knife Nut: Despite Mick isn't against using fire weapons, he usually prefer his bowie knife as a Weapon of Choice.
- Land Downunder: The setting for the series, other than the Vietnam War segment of Desolation Game.
- Large Ham: Mick. He loves to shout a lot and being bombastic while he tortures innocents.
- Men Are the Expendable Gender: Inverted. Ben survives the movie, while both girls die.
- 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. Or at least brained him with the butt of the rifle as a club.
- Out-Gambitted: In an early episode of the miniseries, Mick finds a pair of isolated French "sheilas" with motor trouble. He offers to tow them to his place to repair it. By this point, even a blind fan of the series knows what this is setting up... but the expectation is subverted as several men drive in and interrupt the conversation. The lead guy says he can fix the engine then and there, actually having mechanical expertise and a will to help. He whispers to Mick to fuck off as he knows, at minimum, the creepy old perv is looking for action from these girls. Mick puts his hand on his blade, causing the guy to gulp in hesitation... but Mick doesn't snap this time, probably because he's outnumbered and at least some of the group would escape as living witnesses. The following morning, after an implied orgy, the lead guy is disgruntled and shocked to find his car totalled. But considering what Mick is capable of, vehicular vandalism is more like petty retaliation for him.
- Serial Killer: Mick Taylor, by now one of the most infamous examples in Aussie horror.
- 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.
- Torture Porn: Tamer than most examples. Torture is mostly implied off-screen - it's implied that Mick may have raped Kristy while he had her tied up (her pants are down). Liz and Kristy's demises are relatively blood free. A good amount of tension comes from what Mick might do.
- 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.