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Wolf Creek, a Movie Review
Let me start by saying that I love horror movies. I don't like them because I like to be scared. The fact is I don't usually get scared while watching horror movies. When I do it's usually when something jumps out at me unexpectedly and gives me a momentary fright. I can probably count on one hand the number of times that a movie has left me with a fear that has stayed with me as I was leaving the theater and some of those times were in movies that weren't really horror movies, like, say, JFK which caused me to rethink what I thought I knew about our civilization in real life. I can be made to feel suspense but that usually doesn't last long with me because I tend to get up to get another beer or soda or something which dispels the illusion. I like horror movies that make me think or that are imaginative and that fire up my imagination in response, or that leaves me with a little bit of a mystery about the nature of life, the world or the supernatural that my imagination can get its teeth into while trying to fill in the blanks.
Recently a friend of mind pressed the DVD for the movie Wolf Creek into my hand and insisted that I watch it. He'd been raving about it for a long time and I had some spare time so I gave it a look. Directed by Greg Mclean, starring John Jarratt, Kestie Morassi, and Guy O'Donnell, it's the story of young backpackers who get stranded in the Outback and run across a guy who's a Crocodile Dundee like stereotype of the Australian backwoodsman and who turns out to be a serial killer.
While I did think it was a cute idea to create a Crocodile Dundee like serial killer, it's really the only imaginative thing in the film and it wasn't enough to get me really liking it. The photography, direction and acting were all amazing. For a low budget film the actual movie making was fantastic. It was the story that didn't do anything at all for me.
The fact of the matter is that it was your basic slasher pic. What my friend liked best about it was the graphic nature of the extended torture sequences and the suspense between killings and I think that for people who look for that in their horror movies, they would probably agree with him that this was a great movie. But, that's not what I'm looking for in my horror movies.
To my surprise, I really loved the special features. I found the director and the cast very interesting in their commentaries and the making of segments were particularly interesting because they were hampered with a low budget but the movie still came out looking really good. The extended torture scenes were filmed on a closed set and discussion of how the crew was gathered outside of the set hearing the actress screaming and moaning for a very long time and how they were actually beginning to worry about her gave me some hope for humanity.
During the special features it became clear that the movie was very loosely based on some real murders and the actor playing the killer also based his performance on yet another serial killer. This had me reading about serial killers in Australia on Wikipedia for about an hour. I find myself very curious as to what exactly is wrong with the minds of serial killers. How their minds work. How they got to be such monsters. I've never actually found a lot of information on that subject but I think that would make much more interesting horror movies. I guess that's why I like, say, the Hannibal Lector movies or Psycho more than I liked Wolf Creek. I would also recommend an oldie called The Night of the Hunter starring Robert Mitchum. However, if you like good slasher pics, Wolf Creek will be worth your while.
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