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  • Rev Horror

Wolf Creek 2

Dir. Greg McLean (2013)

Sadistic serial killer Mick Taylor captures another group of Outback travelers in this Australian horror sequel.

Australia does survival horror arguably better than anyone else, combining the country's intensely dangerous wildlife and gorgeous scenery with its weird criminal-adjacent populace to create a unique genre of film that is noticeably different from the cinema of other countries. The desolate landscapes and isolating climate make for the perfect setup for a film about people out of their element, something Australian filmmakers have been taking advantage of since the dawn of Ozploitation cinema. When they're really good, though, they have a lasting impact on the horror faithful and become cult classics all their own, an accomplishment undoubtedly achieved by the original Wolf Creek. The sequel, made eight years later by Greg McLean, who also directed the original, improves on its predecessor in some ways but largely lacks the lasting appeal of its forefather.

Mick Taylor (John Jarratt) is back, this time hunting a new trio of young adults who find their way into his crosshairs through no faults of their own. When Katarina (Shannon Ashlyn) escapes his clutches after he murders her boyfriend Rutger (Philippe Klaus), she winds up under the care of the Jeep-driving Paul (Ryan Corr). Taylor doesn't take kindly to Paul's intrusion, and he hunts the two down with a huge semi truck stolen from its recently-deceased owner. Now Paul must survive not only the brutal Australian Outback but also his lunatic pursuer who is itching to kill again.

One of the challenges in making a horror movie sequel is the ever-present desire to address any issues that existed in the first film while doubling down on what made the original successful. Sometimes, this ruins the magic of what made the first film successful in the first place. Wolf Creek 2 certainly tries to balance both of these changes, though its not entirely successful in either one. The original film was incredibly slow, a concern addressed in its sequel by having the opening scene be more gory than everything in the first film combined, especially because it all happens in the light of day. Whether this is a good change will depend on your perspective, but it certainly doesn't hurt to add a bit more visceral gore for fans of the horror genre.

The real crime of the film is the handling of Mick Taylor, the vicious serial killer with a mean sense of humor who quickly became an icon in the backwoods and Australian horror genre. Jarratt does a phenomenal job in the role, and the fault is in no way his, but the subtle sense of humor and cheeky one-liners that were used sparingly in the first film are way overplayed in the followup. Taylor is supposed to feel detached and sociopathic, someone who views brutally maiming his victim as another day at the office. His lines serve to make it clear how deranged he is, and it works like a charm. For Wolf Creek 2, the writers went the post-OG Nightmare on Elm Street route, making him almost a comic relief for the horrors committed on-screen by his character.

It's not a terrible choice, and it certainly makes the movie far more entertaining at baseline than the first film. It also serves to make it far less terrifying, removing a lot of the gritty and maniacal feeling from the original in favor of creating a more mainstream villain. Again, your mileage may vary, and if you thought that the first film was lacking in watchability, you may well like the second one more. It's certainly not a bad film, and it's a helluva lot of fun. It just lacks the emotional and psychological gutpunch of its predecessor, choosing instead to appeal to people who just want to watch for the gore and viscera.

All that said, the gore and viscera are nevertheless pretty impressive. From the opening sequence on, there are plenty of decapitations, spinal cord severings, and crazy car chases to keep the most ADD horror lover happy. The realism may be lacking, but the action certainly is not. Wolf Creek 2 is not nearly as disturbing as the original because it removes a lot of its shocking grittiness, though it does a lot more despite having to work its way to a higher body count. You simply don't come across a ton of people in the wilderness, so McLean has to be creative in his attempts to elevate the violence from the first film. Thankfully, he's up to the task, so while WC2 might lack a lot of the charm and disturbing bluntness of the first, it's a fantastically watchable sequel that did nothing to hurt the legacy of the franchise as a whole.

Who this movie is for: Australian horror fans, Gory horror devotees, Kangaroo haters

Bottom line: Crass, violent, and a lot more well-lit than the first film, Wolf Creek 2 also lacks a lot of what made the original so special. That's ok, though, because it does a great job with what it does have, which is a ton of visceral guts and gore. Fans of the original might be disappointed, but more mainstream horror fans will likely enjoy the ride. This one is streaming on Amazon Prime, and it's definitely one you want to check out if you're looking for a bloody good time.

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