Australian director/writer Greg McLean’s 2005 horror film Wolf Creek earned kudos for being heads, shoulders and other body parts above films of its type and so, nearly a decade later, he returns for a brutal but often chilling and darkly humorous sequel.
Once again set in the remote Outback, the film follow deranged pig farmer and uber-Aussie Mick Taylor (John Jarratt) — think Paul Hogan in a really bad, xenophobic mood — as he hunts foreign tourists for sport. When Taylor stumbles across stray Brit Paul Hammersmith (an excellent Ryan Corr), who becomes a target by foiling Taylor’s plan to kill a German backpacker, it’s game on and Taylor has more than 200 years of colonial scores to settle with the Englishman.
Wolf Creek 2 works as a sly nod to other Australian films like Wake in Fright and the “Mad Max/Road Warrior” series, where the desolate landscape itself is a sinister threat. McLean directs with a sure hand and a keen visual sense (a chase scene with an SUV, a truck and a mob of hopping kangaroos who get in the way is phenomenal). He knows how to build suspense and is even capable of eliciting a chuckle or two. (In a nod to the Aussie film Babe, Taylor barks at one of his victims, “That’ll do, pig.”)
Still, as well made as it is, it would be great to see what McLean could do if he were free from genre conventions and could put his many talents to use in a movie not built around beheadings and dismemberments.
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Cary Darling, 817 390-7571; Twitter @carydar