Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Review: Wolf Creek (out 16/9)

Fear eats the soul: Wolf Creek
If Wolf Creek had been made 30 years ago, it would be destined to be a cult horror classic. But in our desensitised times, it will register merely as an interesting experiment in mixing genre and realism. Still, director Greg McLean did a great job by taking inspiration from the pared-down style of the Dogme 95 manifesto (handheld camerawork, location-shooting etc) and mixing it with sprinkles of B-movie gore. The effect is so strong that I feel compelled to warn readers that this is really scary stuff, the strongest type of fear that cinema has ever made me feel.

Not that the levels of gore are much higher than most Hollywood slasher movies. The difference is that in Wolf Creek there is a notable absence of camp, which normally turns horror movies into pantomime. And because this is a proper film, we get to know the characters really well before their suffering starts. The effect is tantamount to watching friends being murdered and not being able to do anything about it.

And who are they? Two English girls on holiday in Australia, travelling in the remote southwestern Australian outback with a cute lad from Sydney. When their car breaks down at Wolf Creek, in the middle of nowhere, a Crocodile Dundee-style redneck comes to their rescue. And then McLean subverts the archetype of the friendly Australian bushman into a cold-blooded monster reigning free in the wilderness. McLean also uses a Blair Witch-style configuration of fact, with title cards at the beginning of the film saying that every year in Australia 30,000 people go missing and 90 per cent of them are found within a month. I’ll never go to Australia.

And what is the point of showing the human soul at its darkest, the banality of evil, the dullness of psychosis? Exactly that.


Anonymous said...

Hey Lobo,

I think that sounds really good. Captures the intense scariness of it all big time but won't prepare the viewer for what's to come... argh..

Antonio Pasolini said...

Thank you, but I guess even I told everyone all the details, I wouldn't rob them of the rough ride ahead.

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