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Wolf Creek - horror/sci-fi DVD review
WOLF CREEK rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 4 1/2 stars
Actors: John Jarratt, Cassandra Magrath, Kestie Morassi, Nathan Phillips
Director: Greg McLean   Studio: Weinstein Company
DVD release: 11 April 2006   Runtime: 104 minutes (1 disc)
Format: Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
DVD features: Subtitles (Spanish), Audio tracks (English, Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish, Dolby Digital 5.1), Commentary (McLean, executive producer Matt Hearn, Magrath & Morassi), "Making of Wolf Creek" featurette, Deleted scene, Trailer

Written and directed by Greg McLean, Wolf Creek is an Australian horror movie based loosely on true events that packs a decent horror punch. The plot revolves around three backpackers: Kristy Earl, Liz Hunter, and Ben Mitchell. The film opens with Ben (Nathan Phillips) buying a car so that they can travel across the outback of Australia. He picks up Liz (Cassandra Magrath) and Kristy (Kestie Morassi), and the movie jumps right into the happy-fun of friends traveling together. Their destination is a meteor crater located in Wolf Creek National Park. While at the Wolf Creek, their watches stop and the car refuses to start. None of them have much mechanical ability with cars, and the trio prepares to spend the night in the outback.

Bright lights appear on the road ahead, a seeming godsend to the trapped friends snuggled up in the car. A burly bushman named Mick Taylor (John Jarrat) offers to give them a tow, but he is headed south, while the group wants to head north back to town. They agree to go back to Mick's place where he promises to fix their car. Sitting around a campfire drinking his water, Mick tells the troupe stories of his previous career killing wild buffaloes and hogs. They laugh, taking it all with a grain of salt, but something just isn't right in Whoville. Soon Mick shows his true colors: he is a sadistic, misogynistic serial killer.

Quite frankly, the storyline is a bit weak and Mick's character is just over-the-top, just about ruining the believability factor. As a sadistic killer, he is more caricature than character. The promotional lines on the box mention The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and you can throw in a little bit of the The Blair Witch Project as well, both movies that never really tickled my fancy and aspects of which don't work here. What is worth watching in Wolf Creek is the cinematography - beautiful shots of the seashore at dawn, soporific sunsets, sunrises, full moons, wide shots of mountains, and the vast emptiness of the Australian outback.

Low-budget filmmaking is hard work, so first-time writer and director McLean deserves some slack. But in the end, despite the slow, almost monotonous buildup, there is a big, bloody payoff for those who love their gore and the current trend of gritty torture flicks. The DVD comes with commentary with director McLean, executive producer Matt Hearn, and actors Cassandra Magrath and Kestie Morassi, a making-of featurette, deleted scenes, and the ubiquitous trailer.
reviewed by Bobby Blades
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