With his 2005 feature debut Wolf Creek, writer/director Greg McLean introduced the world to Australian serial killer Mick Taylor, who was brilliantly brought to life by actor John Jarratt with a twinkle in his eye. Brutal, sadistic, zonked out of his mind insane, and gifted with the best maniacal laugh since Freddy Krueger, Mick Taylor was a character that was immediately embraced by the horror community.
With this sequel that’s been nearly a decade in the making, McLean delivers a movie that is centered almost entirely on Mick doing what he does: tracking, terrorizing, and killing people. The first movie took 33 minutes to put Mick on screen and then another 17 before he made his homicidal tendencies known. This time around, Mick knocks off two people right in the opening sequence… and the action rarely stops from then on.
Sure, there is an interlude where we meet a German couple who are backpacking around Australia on vacation, leading to a surprising stretch of the movie where the dialogue is mostly in German, and these characters do much the same things that the ill-fated road trippers in the earlier film did – party, hit the road, wander into the Outback beyond mobile phone service, visit the Wolf Creek National Park – but it isn’t long before they encounter Mick. And since they, unlike the victims in the first movie, refuse to accompany Mick back to the abandoned mining site that he calls home, his facade of friendliness is dropped much quicker. He attacks… And the next 75 minutes or so are comprised of bloodshed, horror, torture, chase sequences, and multiple murders as more unlucky people cross paths with Mick.
McLean knew what audiences liked best about Wolf Creek, and this follow-up is completely about giving the audience more of what they liked. In fact, if Wolf Creek 2 is guilty of anything, it’s that it may even go too far with the fan service. One of the most memorable parts of the original was the “head on a stick” injury, so this time Mick employs it twice within the first 30 minutes. The car chase in part 1 was impressive, so this film contains more car chases on an even larger scale, even dropping a mob of CG kangaroos into the midst of a car chase at one point. These fake ‘roos get splattered all over the road. It was shocking when Mick killed people before, so this time McLean shows the murders in much gorier detail. People are turned into a bloody mess in this flick.
Wolf Creek 2 feels like a much bigger movie than its predecessor (see the aforementioned car chases and digital animals) and it also has a much lighter tone. McLean was out to unnerve you before, this time he’s having more fun with the scenario. Once again, see the kangaroos. Another groan-inducing example of this more (although still very dark) comedic tone is a scene in which Mick dismembers a corpse while listening to the Patsy Cline song “I Fall to Pieces”.
While this sequel certainly seems excessive, can you really fault a movie for giving people an extra helping of what they were expecting to see? As a fan of the first, I was definitely entertained by the second, and enjoyed seeing Mick Taylor back in action in a movie where I didn’t feel so bad when he dispatched victims because the tone and amount of action made it less disturbing.
The people who watch Wolf Creek 2 will primarily be those who wanted more after watching Wolf Creek, and more is exactly what they’ll get.