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Overall Rating

Awesome: 21.43%
Worth A Look34.29%
Average: 10.71%
Pretty Bad: 11.43%
Total Crap: 22.14%

7 reviews, 98 user ratings

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Wolf Creek
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by Scott Weinberg

"'Based on a true story!' - except for all the nasty stuff we just made up."
2 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2005 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL: The Australian horror flick "Wolf Creek" claims to be 'based on actual fact' - yet it offers at least two murder scenes that, as far as anyone in Australia knows, never really happened! Sure, I could write a screenplay about three horny teenagers who went missing, but if I use their deaths as nothing more than cheap, gory horror flick fodder, aren't I being just a little bit too exploitative?

But that's not even the worst of Wolf Creek's crimes. The biggest problem is that of sheer, simple boredom. This is a movie that wanders around aimlessly for well over an hour before finally getting to the gristle. And then those moments of shock and terror are handled in such obvious and perfunctory fashion that you may be a little bit annoyed for even waiting around that long.

Here we're offered two young gals and a guy, recent graduates who aim to take off to a massive ol' crater site for a vacation full of romance and adventure. Suffice to say they get very little of one and a whole lot of the other. After their car breaks down the trio is met by a grizzled ol' outback type, one they off-handedly refer to as a "Crocodile Dundee" type. (I know a few Aussies, and none of 'em would ever refer to one of their own as a "Crocodile Dundee." Only Americans are that clueless.)

Anyway, turns out that their savior is not a helpful outback fella, but a vicious murderer who delights in the torture of his victims. So after about 65 minutes of character stuff and rambly set-up, we get a few scenes of "stalk, hide, stalk, hide, scream" and some really nasty murders. Whether or not any of the victims manage to survive this nightmare, I won't say. But suffice to say you'll be walking out of the theater with more unanswered questions than grim answers.

Clearly aiming for some sort of Texas Chainsaw Massacre vibe (and failing pretty miserably), director Greg McLean manages only to exploit a few tales of true-life tragedy in order to deliver a couple of sincerely nasty kill scenes. Were Wolf Creek really about the tragedy of these missing kids, it would pack in some real desperation or emotion amongst the back-loaded carnage. Instead, the film feels like an unseemly attempt to wring a new horror franchise out of somebody else's dead children.

Take the film's nastiest dispatch. (Let's just say it involves a machete and someone's spine.) In a fictional horror movie, this could be an absolute highlight; a gruesome murder that takes place during the film's grim finale. But when you think back and realize that there's no evidence of this crime and that there were no witnesses, the kill feels a whole lot uglier than just what's onscreen. Fictionally sensationalizing a young girl's brutal murder leaves a bad taste in one's mouth, and this is coming from a guy who absolutely adores nasty horror movies!

To be fair, McLean clearly has some chops as a director. His camera peers down on the unforgiving Australian outback with a palpable sense of doom and gloom. The movie is shot is a dry and handsome fashion, which helps to keep the flick afloat during the first two interminable acts. And once the cat-and-mouse craziness kicks in, Wolf Creek exhibits a tight-knuckled intensity that would do wonders for a screenplay that isn't this malnourished.

As a whole, "Wolf Creek" is two parts yawnfest and one part familiar thrill-ride. It's nasty for plain old nasty's sake, which normally would be a pretty solid endorsement for a low-budget horror flick. But by hanging his hat on the "based on a true story" conceit, Mr. McLean manages to paint himself into a corner. Were "Wolf Creek" really 'about' a rash of young Aussies gone missing, it wouldn't delight in the made-up murders so leeringly, and if it really was interested in being a balls-to-the-wall horror-fest, the flick wouldn't be so consistently boring.

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originally posted: 02/04/05 07:28:09
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For more in the Australian series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

6/25/10 The Stick that Slaps Amen to that, SpaceGoat... 1 stars
11/01/09 Ron Joanne Lees (victim of the ordeal) has a book out, "NO TURNING BACK". Based on true events 3 stars
9/02/09 SpaceGoat There is something terribly wrong with guys who make films like this. 1 stars
10/28/08 Sugarfoot This movie has nothing on the grittier 70s gore epics and the narrative is really boring. 1 stars
8/10/08 ben dover awesome and truly disturbing 5 stars
6/30/08 action movie fan good scary last house on the left style shocker-realistic and believable 4 stars
3/01/08 Ivana Mann Brutal...brutally boring.Virtually no plot,just flacid,rehashed torture-porn. Total poo! 1 stars
1/11/08 misty boring 1 stars
1/03/08 Matt Not very close to the real story, but still quite good. Gross and scary! 4 stars
8/07/07 ravenmad Crap, awful, disgusting and not scary. Made to dehumanize. Save some green. 1 stars
6/27/07 philip easton a horror film that relies on performances rather than gore 4 stars
5/02/07 Tracey Chambers people who make movies like this must think the audience is stupid 1 stars
4/09/07 Chris Redmond Brutally simple; unpretentious and, most importantly, deeply disturbing. 4 stars
3/07/07 Larry the hacker Mclean is a new master! Awesome flick! 5 stars
11/06/06 kory burtch beginning boring ending good and filled with suspence 4 stars
10/22/06 Dillon Isn't really worth your time and doesn't have pay-off big enough to compensate. 2 stars
9/17/06 Rhiann Wolf creek is based on true events..this makes it scary. And it has done an awesome job! 4 stars
9/03/06 Colleen Jenson As far as horror movies go, that fact that it is based on a true story makes it scary. 4 stars
8/24/06 Christine Dolce This movie was awesome!! I loved it. well done 5 stars
8/08/06 samuel not scary horror but ugly & sick - violence porn 1 stars
8/05/06 Agent Sands Scary moments, but for a true story it has one terrible script. 3 stars
8/04/06 pete.chesworth does not pull any punches very brutal 4 stars
7/30/06 daveyt ok, seemed to run out of time for a good ending...? 3 stars
7/24/06 Samuel Very much horror!! Very real! Very horrifying!!! 5 stars
7/16/06 JeromeBosch Vile and disgusting garbage, Horror, I think not! 1 stars
6/24/06 ali it was a asome show it was the best i have ever seen 5 stars
6/13/06 Tasia I thought this movie was's boring up until the end 3 stars
6/05/06 malcolm such potential but just f-ing boring 2 stars
6/05/06 katie Truly scary, a must see for any horror fan. 5 stars
6/04/06 William Goss Just falls short of a solid road trip movie, then just short of truly bleak horror. 2 stars
5/12/06 Indrid Cold There's a memorable moment when the audience's trust is brutally violated. Otherwise, meh. 3 stars
4/14/06 gfh like Tiff said, unwitnessed, but okay suspense in parts 2 stars
4/13/06 sherrysfunstuff AMAZING shots! pretty hohum devils rejects..true story????? 2 stars
4/06/06 c amazing, realistic and overall the best film of 2005 5 stars
4/06/06 anthonyuk a very disturbing and nasty last 30 mins! not for the fainthearted. 4 stars
2/28/06 Tiffany Faye Hawthorne "Based on true story" but is unwitnessed speculation; a fraud essentially. 2 stars
2/14/06 Danny Utter crap, all the hipe about being a great horror movie, it wasn't scary at all. RUBBISH 1 stars
2/10/06 Alice One of the better horrors in this style 4 stars
1/27/06 Reklc Not bad, could be more realistic though. 4 stars
1/11/06 Mansi Dido Okay, although I have seen better. 3 stars
1/03/06 Zaw WTF Rednecks gone world wide! even in OZ they got rednecks like Texas Chain Saw! 4 stars
1/02/06 Roy Smith Read brianorndorf review. More boring than ANYTHING in 2005! Total garbage! 1 stars
1/01/06 y2mckay The Crocodile Dundee Breakdown Massacre 3 stars
12/31/05 Evil Wolfie So friggin boring, and i mean the parts with the killing, too. 2 stars
12/30/05 Agent Sands I mean, it gets tense. 4 stars
12/29/05 elvyn waist of time,very bad movie,no facts, pure crap, want my money back, worst movie this yr!! 1 stars
12/29/05 misty want my money was total crap.worst movie i have ever seen 1 stars
12/28/05 Matt Critics should research the Milat murders before reviewing. 4 stars
12/28/05 Corey M I want my $8.50 back! 1 stars
12/27/05 Nick Jones I left the theater wanting a refund and an explainion of why the movie was made 1 stars
12/27/05 Lana ITS DISGUSTING/HORRIBLE 1 stars
12/27/05 phil total crap,waste of time and money 1 stars
12/26/05 bill i hate this fucking move you could not play me to see it fro the 2 time 1 stars
12/26/05 Bo Bo Almost walked after 5 minutes 2 stars
12/26/05 lee Pure evil 5 stars
12/25/05 Dom Exploitive trash 1 stars
12/24/05 Croweater888 Try researching Peter Falconia and the backpacker murders you moron American reviewers! 4 stars
12/23/05 Jason Familiar horror elements in (for some of us) a familiar landscape, still scared me sh**less 5 stars
12/22/05 Manntis "Australia’s most baron landscapes"?? Learn to spell, reporter boy. 4 stars
12/20/05 Bleak This is the worst review i've read. Great Flick 4 stars
12/02/05 nikita nice camera shots, the murders were shocking though! 4 stars
12/01/05 Ron If payigng $10 to see women slowly tortured to death makes you happy, see a shrink instead. 1 stars
11/30/05 danni awsome 5 stars
11/30/05 glenn well developed characters, pace, suspense & shock... pure magic! 5 stars
11/29/05 alphred scary as hell 5 stars
11/28/05 Nathan Brilliant 5 stars
11/23/05 holly brookes i loved every minute of it. 5 stars
11/15/05 carl awesome 5 stars
11/10/05 Leonora realy well acted, terrifying 5 stars
11/08/05 Peter Blackman The emporers new clothes! Wake up people, this is boring, predictable, cliched rubbish! 1 stars
11/05/05 Bill James A boring, disjointed mimic of the Texas Chain Saw Massacre outback style. 1 stars
11/04/05 Truganini Heinous, malevolent, traumatic - and absolutely incredib;e 5 stars
11/04/05 aaron mcloughlin i don't feel that the writer is adept with the genre but is cashing in on the hype 1 stars
11/04/05 Joanna Chilled me- I recently went up to the Pilbura. The open desolate roads are creepy as it is 4 stars
11/03/05 sophie this film was great, and weird, one to watch again. 5 stars
11/02/05 craig possibly believable, but isnt 4 stars
10/31/05 Josh Mason Brutal and Amazing 5 stars
10/30/05 smiti This movie is more true then the reviewer above liked to believe. Great movie. 5 stars
10/29/05 peter it is all true plausable, not as a movie but as what does happen in the outback 5 stars
10/29/05 john bale Good example of genre, Jarratt relishes heavy attack of the crazies. Disturbingly graphic 4 stars
10/28/05 Dan Characters do stupid things but its quite scary 4 stars
10/27/05 Gizz Disturbing. Has turned me off ever travelling around Australia. 4 stars
10/25/05 chris fox (the god) fair 3 stars
10/22/05 Starlet Silver Briliant filt 5 stars
10/02/05 Gav 12-15 year old horror movie. Seen it all before could actually guess everything. 2 stars
9/23/05 Seth Horrible junk 1 stars
9/21/05 Ed Shocking, no eye witnesess, and beging could have been squeezed into 10 mins!pitiful effort 2 stars
9/20/05 Jen The fact that it's based on real events and the horrific violence make an excellent mix! 5 stars
9/18/05 stephen green its put me off west australia 5 stars
9/18/05 Sarah Hewitt Gripping to the deadly end! 5 stars
9/17/05 steve Grim, dark, gory tale, hope it didn't happen this way 5 stars
9/17/05 Sarah Although the film took a long time to tae off once it did it just left you terrified! 4 stars
7/24/05 Richard Watts Clever, but ultimately unsatisfying 3 stars
7/03/05 Jaye Fantastically horror! McGrath & Jarratt are back for Aussies! 5 stars
4/15/05 raquel Awesome!! Loved it!! Terrifying, what would you do in this situation?? 5 stars
3/24/05 Mark Legron "Wolf Creek", along with "Murder-Set-Pieces" are the BEST horror films in the last 20 years 5 stars
2/05/05 john j the worst film i saw at sundance 1 stars
2/01/05 captainporks A landmark in Australian cinematic development. This is genuinely terrifying horror flick. 5 stars
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  25-Dec-2005 (R)
  DVD: 11-Apr-2006



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