The ferocious juggernaut that was the Wolf Creek movies has now reached the small screen thanks to the new six part series brought to you by Stan, Australia's own Netflix. The first film made it to many top ten scariest films lists, was a critically acclaimed box office success (at least here Down Under) and was nominated for five AFI awards (Australian Film Institute - our Oscars) including best film. The sequel also fared very well, at least commercially…So this new show was eagerly anticipated by its many fans. The series follows Eve (Lucy Fry) a young American tourist who survives the killing of her family only to go on the run seeking their killer - Mick Taylor (John Jarratt brilliant as always), in a tale of pursuit across the outback.
Listed below are the scenes that I felt stood out as memorable and truly embracing the Wolf Creek ‘spirit’.
Please let me know in the comments what you thought of them or what moments you think I missed..
The first kill (Episode 1, Billabong) – A family of tourists are ‘rescued’ by Mick and his trusty rifle, appearing just in time to kill that pesky croc in one of the most tense sequences in the series (all those long shots of the child floating in crocodile infested waters had my heart pounding) followed by a nasty family murder that’s shot flat and without drama – just adding to the unexpectedness of it. You know Mick will have his kills, the best and most effective thing about Wolf Creek is not knowing how or when he will have them, and this scene was reminiscent of that. It didn't pull any punches either - especially when the chainsaw came out!
The opening credits – I have to give David Fincher and Se7en credit for changing the landscape of opening/closing titles. It was the first time that a film-maker had truly worked at making those titles as stylized and unsettling as the movie about to be viewed, and film-makers and audience sat up and took note. Now it seems horror took this idea and raw with it to their benefit. The opening credit sequence here is a dreamy concoction of True Blood crossed with True Detective – all smoky grimy visuals languidly curling across your screen to that lullaby version of ‘who killed cock-robin’ – a master class in eerie.
When the ‘City Wankers’ turn up to change that clogged fuel line (Episode 2, Kutykutyu) – It was a familiar scene from the first film - tourists stranded in the outback with a broken car when Mick’s dependable old blue F-100, spotlights shining ominously down on the helpless future-victims, arrives upon them and offers his help, just one catch – they have to come back to his house for the parts. After some discussion in their own dialect it is decided they have no choice but to accompany Mick back to his home and, we know, their terrible fate. Suddenly a few more cars pull up, their inhabitants exiting and offering the women help there and then. Mick is gradually pushed to the background, exclaiming that he’s got it under control. When one of the new guys confronts him and says he knows what Micks doing, it’s strange to see mick one-upped, to see him know when he’s bested, the cocky meanness fade from his eyes. The relief for those near-miss tourists is palpable.
Eve's would be rapist suffering a well deserved junk-ectomy care of Mick (Episode 3, Salt Lake) – In one of the most disturbing sequences for this writer at least, Eve opens her van after spending a refreshing morning on the beach with her dog, only to find a man with intentions to rape her crouched in the back. The most disturbing part is the writers desire to almost make him a bit of a larrikin, to make Eve feel obligated to tend to him after she quite rightly wounds him. When he finally hitches a ride with Mick and tells him the story of his ‘encounter’ with Eve (with whom Mick has now formed some sort of strange bond) you just know Mick will make him pay. And he does, in spectacular fashion.
The prison van explosion (Episode 3, Salt Lake) – A prisoner transport overturns in the desert due to the policeman driving it suffering a seizure after keeping his earlier episode to himself. Panic stricken prisoners attempt to free themselves, one doing so by breaking his hand and pulling it through the cuffs. Running from the van, he is spotted by the passenger policeman who was thrown clear and of course this policeman has to shoot at the escaping prisoner, and in his wild aim he strikes the van, and almost immediately it explodes. This was unexpected and so well done. The earlier seizure was witnessed by Eve and seemed innocuous but lead to this moment and an escaped prisoner who will impact strongly in her future trails. Not to mention the way the crash was filmed: the seizure seen, the van zooms out of view, the camera pans to see it already overturned – wonderful cinematography.
Head on a stick (Episode 3, Salt Lake) – Eve follows Micks trail to find a rabbits head on a stick, next to his burnt out campfire. It cant help but hearken back to the first film and his terrible torture of Liz – the shocking truth of what ‘head on a stick’ really means.
Fight in the snake pit (Episode 4, Opalville) – Stumbling into a family drama when chasing clues of previous missing persons, Eve finds herself at the mercy of a different kind of predator in this episode. The fight in the underground snakepit is down and dirty with the threat of a snake bite just adding to the tension.
A Farewell to Arms (Episode 5, Rome) – That prisoner with the broken hand? Its now grown gangrenous and bloated and its has to go.. Kneeling over an old rusty bed frame in the middle of nowhere he braces himself and saws it off, screaming in agony the whole time. Pushes the boundaries of what I thought they’d show on television – gory graphic goodness.
Car window reflection (Episode 5, Rome) – Northern Territory police officer Sullivan Hill (Dustin Clare) who has been following Eve following Mick is sitting in his car contemplating his next move when Micks reflection looms onto his car window, its jolting and sudden and gives you a chill as you realize how close Hill is to that psychopathic killer.
Head on a stick two (Episode 6, Wolf Creek) – Eve has made it to the Wolf Creek crater, she walks to where we have seen previous victims go, heading into what is an uncertain fate. Suddenly the camera zooms in on something in the middle distance. A human head is propped up on a tall pile of rocks, facing away from us. Its jarring and shocking, somehow creepier but the fact that it’s the back of a head. It sits atop a scrapbook of Micks past but all that matters is that head. Expertly filmed, this is an image you’ll remember.
Finally in Micks lair (Episode 6, Wolf Creek) – Of course the final confrontation has to take place in Micks garage, the memories of the original film flooding back with that familiar set and all the evils that took place there. It was a nostalgic moment and the ideal place for Eve and Mick to face off, one last time.
So that’s it, I haven’t mentioned the wicked pleasure of seeing that familiar blue truck cruising the outback roads, Micks evil snigger, the tourist ‘collectibles’ in Micks home and all the recognizable things that make this ‘Wolf Creek’.
What do you think? Have I missed any scenes that you felt were iconic? What were your impressions of the show itself?
Please let me know in the comments below.