Wolf Creek 2 is a violent and darkly comic horror that will do one thing – put you off visiting the Australian outback. I haven’t seen the original Wolf Creek but I get the impression that it was probably a darker, leaner movie than this sequel. I get the feeling that this goes the route of Tobe Hooper’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 by introducing more humour. Even villain Mick Taylor’s (John Jarratt) lair seems to have been directly inspired by the Sawyer family’s underground abode in that 1988 film.
The film begins with a particularly violent opening that sets the tone for the first half of the movie. Dark and harsh, it plays on our primal fear of the unknown and dangers of isolated locations. This is genuinely unsettling, but then the films takes a turn that follows Taylo who chases Wolf Creek 2’s main protagonist across the Aussie wilds. It is at this point where Greg McLean’s film begins its downward spiral. A sequence featuring CGI kangaroo roadkill is so out of touch with what has gone before that it appears to be from a different movie altogether. It’s a total misjudgement of tone which shows that McLean would rather be making a live action cartoon than a horror picture. Comedy can lighten the mood, but it can also kill a horror movie.
It’s clear that the intention of Wolf Creek 2 is to show the darker side of Australia. The general perception is the country is filled with beer swigging laid-back types who are always up for having a good time, but McLean wants to show that stereotyping in such a way is dangerous. He’s successful at that, but I don’t think he’s successful in bringing together the black comedy and the humour. It needs more nuance and much more restraint.
Wolf Creek 2 is a movie of two halves. The opening is a dark and genuinely unsettling piece of cinema, but then things begin to fall apart. It soon becomes apparent that McLean and co-writer Aaron Sterns didn’t really have a story to tell and this leaves the last half of the movie floundering. What could have been a dark and gritty horror movie soon becomes a parody, and a rather boring one at that.