Film Review: Wolf Creek 2 (MA15+) (Australia, 2014)


Good old Mick Taylor, every backpacker’s worst nightmare come to life, there’s nothing like a rifle wielding, redneck lunatic bearing down on you in nowhere Aussie bushland, to get the heart racing. But why was this particular homicidal maniac so appealing? Enough to rake in over $27 million in box office sales worldwide, with a sequel that has clinched the number 1 spot at the Australian box office? Maybe it’s because Director Greg McLean draws his influences from events like the Peter Falconio murder case and has based his main character off someone a lot of Australians would rather soon forget, notorious serial killer Ivan Milat. Things get a whole lot scarier when they’re a little too REAL to ignore and a little too CLOSE for comfort….

Wolf Creek 2 has rode the successful coat tails of it’s predecessor and not done too badly, collecting about $1.6 million in it’s first weekend. Whether this means the film has overcome sequel stigma is questionable, as not much has seemingly changed in terms of the plot’s approach or the gore quota and it similarly hasn’t failed to stir-up some controversy during it’s production.

The opening scene is a nice touch, having Taylor approached by a bunch of nastily predijuced cops in broad daylight flips the power position quite unexpectedly, to a point where a viewer can unashamedly root for the underdog and not feel too sympathetic about the inevitable horrific outcome. The rest of the film continues with the usual slasher fare, a saccharinely adorable German couple are naive enough to try and hitch hike their way across South Australia to Darwin and of course can’t get a ride past Wolf Creek where they pitch their tent for the night. At least this time male counterpart Rutger Enqvist (played by Philippe Klaus) is wary enough to say no to Taylor’s ‘kind’ offer to drive them into town, before he gets knifed in the back.

Things then start to get interesting, female counterpart Katarina Schmidt (played by Shannon Ashlyn) somehow escapes from her aggressor and finds the main road where she’s nearly run over by what turns out to be the secret ingredient to this film, real life character British tourist Paul Hammersmith (played by Ryan Corr). The rest of the movie’s plot centres around the cat and mouse interactions between Hammersmith and Taylor, turning into more of an engaging thriller with a macabre slant to it.

John Jarratt (Australia, Django Unchained, McLeod’s Daughters) has truly outdone himself embodying the character of Mick Taylor, it’s mind boggling to see someone who usually plays such affable characters, become this unrecognisable deranged, xenophobic bogan. McLean’s done well to put more focus on Taylor and give viewers an opportunity to get to know the character, only to find that he’s quite cunning and relatable to an extent. Ryan Corr (Packed to the Rafters, Not Suitable for Children, Love Child) who also normally slots into loveable delinquent roles as well, is incredibly convincing and engaging as Hammersmith (even his put on British accent is quite good). He shines in this breakout role and holds his own against Jarratt’s veteran experience, to keep a story that’s 80% based on dialogue between two characters alive and absorbing.

There are a couple of other things that have been done differently, calling on stereotypical Australian culture and assumptions that audiences will understand and accept what’s being thrown at them. A ridiculous scene involving a gang of kangaroos becoming roadkill during a truck/car chase set to the sounds of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” is oddly bemusing, as well as a deadly encounter between Taylor and a sweet elderly couple who’s house seems to pop up like a surreal mirage in the middle of desert. Contrary to the original, the most horrific elements are piled on towards the finale, the most confronting scenes taking place in Taylor’s underground dungeon where the true unchecked extent of his bloodlust comes to a head.

Controversy has once again followed this enterprise, McLean’s decision to use Rolf Harris’ iconic tune “Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport” as part of Taylor’s dialogue, given Harris’ recent charges, has been frowned upon by the media. Also, the debate over lack of support of Australian independent film has flared given At The Movies hosts Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton’s refusal to the review Wolf Creek 2 despite local production and top placement at the box office. There’s also been question of an overlooked performance by Jarratt come awards time.

Wolf Creek 2 is as it was intended by it’s writers, producers and directors, softened to bring down the rating from R to MA, it appears to be better made and more thought through, minus the infamously grisly and sexually explicit scenery of it’s predecessor. It’s an unapologetic film which has polarised audiences and media alike and should be taken and enjoyed as the brash, low brow, aggressive gore fest that was intended. Somehow with it’s foreboding contradictory representation of the sprawling beauty of the outback and our local wildlife versus our gruesome criminal history, it’s one of the best Australian anti/pro tourism films out there.


Duration: 104 minutes

Wolf Creek 2 is currently screening in cinemas nation wide, official HD trailer below:


This content has recently been ported from its original home on The Iris and may have formatting errors – images may not be showing up, or duplicated, and galleries may not be working. We are slowly fixing these issue. If you spot any major malfunctions making it impossible to read the content, however, please let us know at editor AT