Wolf Creek


Directed by: Greg McLean
Written by: Greg McLean
Starring: John Jarratt, Cassandra Magrath, Kestie Morassi, Nathan Phillips
Released: November 3, 2005
Grade: A-

Ben (Phillips), Liz (Magrath) and Christy (Morassi) have set off on a road trip across Australia.  They started in Broome, Western Australia and heading towards tropical North Queensland.  Ben is an Aussie but Liz and Christy are two English backpackers looking to have fun and looking to see the Great Outback.

One of their first stops is Wolf Creek, home to a giant meteorite crater.  They leave the car and embark on a 3-hour trek to see this landmark first hand.  On returning, they find their car won’t start.  Thankfully, a tow-truck driver named Mick (Jarratt) spots them on his way home and offers them assistance.  He’ll tow their vehicle back to his place where he replace a broken coil.  Our three travellers spend the night camped outside Mick’s isolated residence.

When Liz wakes up, she finds herself locked in a room with her hands and feet tied.  How did she get here?  Where are the others?  How long has she been here?  What is in store for her?  The answers will be revealed but it’s going to be a terrifying experience…

The film opens with a statement that Wolf Creek is based on a true story.  I believe that story to be that of Ivan Milat, the man convicted of killing several backpackers in New South Wales in the early 1990s.  Others see a similarity to the mysterious disappearance of Englishman Peter Falconio in 2001.  So much so, that the prosecutors in the Falconio case (which is currently before the judge) asked for the release of the film to be delayed.

You must understand that this film has been rated R in Australia for its “high level realistic violence”.   Some viewers have been critical and say that the filmmakers are using the tasteless violence as entertainment.  I strongly disagree here and I think the reason that people are so disturbed, including myself, is because the film has been exceptionally well made.  It sets up a great premise and director Greg McLean artfully uses his camera to maximise the suspense.  There isn’t any more violence than in your normal flick – what is different is that this looks real!  People will be affected and that’s the design of the film.  So if this isn’t you cup of tea, don’t see it.  I’ve warned you.

A couple of weeks ago, the nominations were announced for the Australian Film Institute Awards (to be held in late November).  I’m happy to say that Wolf Creek has been nominated for seven awards in total including best director and best original screenplay.  The cinematography of Will Gibson also received a very deserved nomination.  If it didn’t involve a crazy serial killer, I’d call the film a great advertisement for checking out central Australia.