Why I Will Never Hike the Outback: Wolf Creek Brings the Fear

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It was supposed to be the vacation of a lifetime in the Australian Outback – full of fun, sun and adventure. But what happened to a trio of twenty-something backpackers took a wrenching detour into the depths of unrelenting terror. Based on true events, Wolf Creek is the haunting story of their unthinkable ordeal – a mounting white-knuckle nightmare so real it was destined to become horror legend.

So this movie has made a travel destination/vacation trip decision for me. I will never, ever go hiking around the outback. Everything is out to kill you, and the worst thing out there isn’t the wildlife; it’s the beasts that walk on two legs (humanity). I don’t ever want to end up as a “head-on-a-stick”. You’ll have to watch the movie for the meaning behind that one.

2005’s Wolf Creek was acclaimed at the the Sundance Film Festival as a daring, original blend of a hypotic thriller mixed with an unbearably scary movie.  The move was written and directed by Melbourne’s Greg McLean.

What to say about this movie? You have a trio of partiers who decide to drive to a crater out in the wilds. When they get close to the landmark, they hike the crater. There is some truly beautiful and ultimately lonely feeling shots in these scenes. The crater, empty of even the sounds of wildlife, and the three friends, each of whom seem to be alone in some fashion.

As for character and character development, I had some troubles really caring about the trio at the beginning. They are your typical “lets go on vacation, drink, have sex, and have no redeamable qualities at all” serial killer fodder. Once the tension started to rise, I found myself feeling a little more empathy with all of the characters. I would have to say that character development is probably the weakest point of this film, at least as it relates to our main three people. The serial killer? Absolutely amazing, creepy, and friendly. One of the best personifications of how evil can wear an affable face.

Now, this is one of those infamous movies that comes with the tagline “Based on True Events”. Now, does everyone know what that actual means? It doesn’t mean that this is a true story. It means that the writer may have pulled bits and pieces of stories from news articles. Not one actual event inspired the film; it is a conglomerate of news items. “Based on True Events” is somewhat misleading of a tagline.

 Warning: There are some scenes in this movie that are not for the young, the gentle, or the weak of stomach. Plus, in almost all ways, this is not a feel good film. The bad guy does not get his just desserts or captured. Good people die, and that is all I think I’ll say about that.

I enjoyed this movie. While I am absolutely terrified by “Head on a Stick”, I think this movie delivers the viewers a good story, a great villian, and plenty of terror. While the body count is low (there are only the three hikers), the amount of horror that is inflicted on each of them is astounding and vivid. The victim’s reactions feel true and help inspire terror in the viewers, including a horror movie loving fan like myself.

Give this movie a shot. I think anyone who wants to watch a little different type of horror (no American slasher tropes: razor blade fingers, hockey masks, etc) and wants to see the dark side of humanity, will be intrigued and enjoy this movie. I’d rate it a 7 out of a possible 10.

Have any of you already watched Wolf Creek? If you have, what did you think? How about “Head on a Stick”?  

 

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