Wolf Creek was nearly an unheard of film. It’s an Australian film to say the least, so why pay attention to it? I hadn’t heard of this movie till I heard how it has been declared a hit upon its release. On top of that, it’s supposed to be a true horror story.
The movie does start off with the “based on true events” tag and that sets the mood for this gritty, ultra-realistic film. Wolf Creek details out the journey two Brit girls, alongside with their Australian male friend. They take a road trip to visit Wolf Creek, a site where a meteor had crashed leaving a vast crater behind. Once they get ready to leave from there, their car doesn’t work. Their watches stop working. A friendly Australian outbacker spots them and gives them a lift. Spending a night at his junkyard, while the friendly Australian is fixing their car, our three friends think they have made it through. When they get up the next day, we find Liz all bound and tied up. Her friend is screaming from the other shed. Their Australian friend is completely missing. Thus begins their descent into hell as they realize the friendly Australian is not so friendly after all. He is hell-bent on torturing the three young travelers. He will not let them escape, and even if they do, he will hunt them down like an animal. “The thrill is in the hunt!” so says the tagline for Wolf Creek.
Wolf Creek is not for the faint hearted, because it is an ultra realistic horror movie. There are no cheap scares. There are no demons or monsters. In the same vein as The Blair Witch Project, Wolf Creek uses the same kind of camera techniques so we are tagging along with the main characters. The movie spends a good 25-30 minutes familiarizing us with the three main leads, showing them on the beaches and clubbing, and that proves to be very effective because when these three people are in trouble, we are with them and want them to safe. We actually sympathize with them, which is a rare thing in a horror movie. We cringe in disgust when they are hurt or beaten. We look away as one is slapped on the face. We feel upset when one is stabbed. Why do these innocent people have to go through this?
The acting is so natural; it almost felt like as if you were watching their home videos. The chemistry between the three leads is so natural you are convinced these three actors are best of friends in reality. The movie has made great use the locations too, depicting the vast, huge outback area of Australia. Powerful images of showing one lone car driving amid a huge desert strike hard. You realize how helpless and lost one could be in such a huge desert.
The Australian outbacker who saves the young people from Wolf Creek site is probably the scariest thing here. How could such a friendly, helpful person turn out to be such a violent and sadistic person? It’s all too real and scary and makes you think about hitchhiking again. The director did a good job of not portraying the villain like a Freddy Kruger or Jason, where the audience actually supports the killer and not those who are being killed. The outbacker in Wolf Creek is a mean thing, and you are genuinely terrified of him. You don’t have any sympathy or support for him, and you wish so hard that the three people all run away from him. You realize that there are sick people out there who are lunatics and will do anything to hurt innocent people.
The ending was not quite what I expected. There were two small twists. However, the most disturbing thing at the end of it all was what we witnessed in the movie was actually based on true events, and we are told, “30,000 are missing each year. 90% are found within a month. 10% are never found.” Wolf Creek is about the 10% that are never found, and that is a scary thought.
Wolf Creek sets a high example of how a real horror movie should be made. Psycho made people scared of taking showers. Jaws made people scared of swimming in the ocean. Wolf Creek will scare you into not hitchhiking again!