Wolf Creek (2005) By Corrina Lindeboom PART ONE – Film Information Details Running Time – 99 Minutes Country – Australia Language – English Genre – Horror/ Thriller Certification – R 18+ Release Dates Box Office – 3rd November 2005 DVD – 1st March 2006 Cast and Crew Mick Taylor – John Jarrat Liz Hunter – Cassandra Magrath Kristy Earl – Kestie Marassi Ben Mitchell – Nathan Phillips Old Man – Gordon Poole Car Salesman – Guy O’Donnell Mechanic – Phil Stevenson Petrol Attendant – Geoff Revell Bazza – Andy McPhee Director – Greg McLean Producer – Greg McLean/David Lightfoot Writer – Greg McLean Cinematographer - Will Gibson Production Design – Robert Webb Composer – Francois Tetaz Costume Design – Nicola Dunn Film Editor – Jason Ballantine Distributor – The Weinstein Company Box Office Figures Box Office Total (as of 07/03/2006) - $16,186,348 Box Office Opening - $4,908,206 Highest Ranking – 10 Box Office History WEEK RANK 1 2 3 4 5 10 14 20 33 45 WKD. THEATRES GROSS $4,908,206 1,749 $3,753,932 1,761 $1,100,176 1,479 $173,026 290 $58,847 106 Reviews PER THEATRE $2,806 $2,701 $744 $194,113 $555 CUMULATIVE $4,908,206 $13,159,405 $15,336,285 $0 $15,948,074 1. Garry Thompson – Philadelphia Daily News “What is the point, other than to show up the director’s technical skill at presenting mutilation?” http://www.philly.com/mld/dailynews/living/13471660.htm 2. Liz Braun – JAM! MOVIES “You may need to squirm and recoil a fair bit to get through the film, which involves graphic, sickening violence.” http://jam.canoe.ca/Movies/Reviews/W/Wolf_Creek/ 3. Jeremy C. Fox – PAJIBA “McLean has some skill, and we’ll probably be hearing more from him in the coming years, though I can’t say I’m looking forward to it.” http://www.pajiba.com/wolf-creek.htm 4. Phoebe Flowers – South Florida Sun-Sentinel “Wolf Creek, Australia’s answer to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and sadistic horror in general, is so fantastic that you almost don’t want to tell people about it. Low expectations, coupled with ignorance of the plot, are absolutely the way to go here – too much information breeds too much waiting impatiently for something scary to happen. Because the movie, written and directed by first timer Greg McLean, is a lo-fi masterpiece, an intense ride through your worst nightmares.” http://www.southflorida.com/movies/sfl-shwolfdec23,0,3621659.story 5. Joel Meares – Movie Web “Wolf Creek is a horror movie that concentrates too much on what other horror films lack and lacks a little something of it. McLean Brings to life every backpacker’s worst nightmare.” http://www.movieweb.com/movies/film/09/2909/review4845.php Interviews 1.http://www.reallyscary.com/interviewmclean.asp An interview with the director of Wolf Creek Greg McLean about his new film Rogue and how created such a realistic and scary film like Wolf Creek. 2. http://www.futuremovies.co.uk/filmmaking.asp?ID=141 Cassandra Magrath who plays Liz Hunter in the film Wolf Creek speaks about her thoughts about the film and some of her on location and set experiences during the making of the film. Wolf Creek Online There is a number of information to be found online about the Australian film Wolf Creek. By using the general search engines of Yahoo, Google and Ninemsn I was able to aquire a number of different websites providing information on the film itself along with reviews and other comments made by film critics and average people. Wolf Creek has been slammed by the majority of critics but I feel that Wolf Creek is really not a bad film and considering that it was the first film Greg McLean directed the overall product was extremely good. PART TWO – Critical Review of Film and its Literature Plot Summary Most people in today’s world have the desire to travel the globe to see the numerous sights on offer. Australia is right up there on the must visit country list. This was certainly the case for British backpackers Kristy Earl and Liz Hunter. Whilst visiting Broome in Western Australia the two girls meet Ben Mitchell, an Aussie traveler from Sydney. Together they decide to purchase a car and explore the Australian wilderness by road visiting places such as Wolf Creek, Darwin and ending their journey in the tropical town of Cairns. After a huge fair well party from Broome the three backpackers hit the road on their way to their first destination, the famous Wolf Creek Crater located in the Wolf Creek National Park. Before reaching Wolf Creek they stop off at Emu Creek, a small petrol station, to fuel up for the rest of the journey. At the fuel station Ben gets in to a bit of a verbal fight with the locals who ask Ben drunkenly if it’s ok if they have their way with his lady friends. Ben is highly offended and so are the girls. Ben walks away and nothing more comes of it. Once the fuel is paid for they all leave and are now only a short while away from the Wolf Creek Crater. After finally arriving at the Crater the three backpackers gather their belongings and hit the hiking trail. They reach the centre of the Crater and decide to sit down and wait under their umbrella until the rain starts to ease. Liz decides that she wants to go for a walk and goes off on her own. Ben follows her soon after. When he catches up with her the two of them share a romantic moment. The rain eases off and they return to the car with Kristy. On return Liz asks Kristy what the time is. She is unable to tell her because her watch is stopped. So she asks Ben. His watch is stopped to. Liz thinks nothing of it and they all pile in the car. Liz hits the key and the car won’t start. Ben gets out to check under the bonnet but he has no idea on what he is doing. The three of them are stuck in the middle of nowhere with a car that wont start waiting for someone to come along and help out. Later that night while they are trying to sleep bright lights can be seen coming over a hill. They all panic as they have no idea on what it is. For all they know it could be a U.F.O coming down to land. Fortunately for them its not. It’s a truck. A man gets out and offers his services. His name is Mick Taylor. Mick offers the three travelers a tow back to his house where he can fix the car and have them on the road by morning. They agree to this offer and begin packing away their stuff so they can leave as soon a possible. Several hours later they arrive at Mick’s humble home. A shed in the middle of nowhere surrounding by rubbish. Mick begins fixing the car while the three of them sit back by a camp fire sipping water. Soon after they all fall asleep. Liz awakes to find herself tired up on the floor of an old shed with a piece of tape over her mouth. She manages to break free and escape from the shed. As she slowly creeps towards the camp fire where she originally was she realizes that there is no one there. Then she hears a loud scream. She turns and walks to the larger shed in which the scream came from. As she peers through the window she can see Kristy tired to a pole bleeding, as Mick circles her with a large rifle in his hand. Liz runs back to the camp fire and spreads fuel everywhere causing an explosion which bring Mick out to investigate. Liz runs in to the shed and frees Kristy. They both escape and are able to get in a truck and drive away. Meanwhile Ben hangs unconscious in a cave some where on Mick’s property. The girls manage to drive the truck back to the Wolf Creek Crater. They know Mick has followed them so the push the truck over the edge to make it look like they have crashed over the hill. Mick seems to fall for the act of deception but the look on his face tells other wise. He walks up and down the ledge where the girls are hanging waiting for him to leave. Kristy manages to quietly creep away but Liz is unlucky. Mick captures her and kills her. Kristy manages to reach the main road where she stumbles as she walks down the road. As she walks a car approaches her from behind. They stop and get out of the car. Kristy jumps in and drives away as fast as she can. She thinks she has escaped but she hasn’t. Mick approaches quickly from behind in another car. Kristy sees him and panics. Mick is able to push her off the road causing her to crash. Still conscious after the crash Kristy crawls from the car with her back to Mick. He pulls out his rifle and shoots her in the back instantly killing her. Mick then attains Liz’s body from his vehicle and places both the girls’ dead bodies inside the crashed car. He then sets the vehicle on fire causing the scene to appear as though it were an accident. Ben is finally awake and finds himself nailed to a cave wall. In much pain he manages to pull each of his wrists off the nails he has through them and make his way out of the cave. He walks for miles bare foot through the bush gripping on for life. Finally he is unable to take anymore and collapses on the ground. He is later found by tourists who take him to Kalbarri where he is then attended to by the Royal Flying Doctor and flown to better medical facilities. Ben was suspected by the police for the murder of the two British backpackers and was put to trial. He wasn’t convicted of murder due to the lack of evidence against him. Mick Taylor still remains somewhere in the Australian outback hunting and killing the living. Critical Review Wolf Creek directed by Greg McLean is not a bad film according to the general standards of other Australian films. I thought that Greg McLean did a wonderful job at directing this film especially considering it is first ever time directing a feature film. Some of the shots he uses are so unexpected which leaves viewers hanging on their seats waiting and watching to see what happens next. An example of this is when he uses the extreme close ups of the nails through Ben’s wrists and has quickly editing them together with a mid type shot of Ben. This results in the viewers being able to relate or even feel the pain that Ben is experiencing. In other reviews I have read about this film there has been a number of complaints on how gruesome the film is. I think that it really isn’t that bad. There are a number of other films that can be found through out the world that are far worse than this film. The film shows what it has to convey a story and a message to the viewing audience. John Jarrat does a marvelous job in this film. Being bale to create and pull off such a morbid and different character may have been extremely difficult but Jarrat does it with ease. I think without such a brilliant performance by Jarrat the film wouldn’t have been able to carry the story forward or even be a story of any interest. John Jarrat creates interest in this film and makes us want to watch what he is going to do next. Overall I feel Wolf Creek was actually bordering on a good film. It is your typical horror film, but for those who enjoy such films like I do, I think they would also enjoy taking the time to watch and enjoy the film known as Wolf Creek. Genre A film can never be one particular genre. It must incorporate other elements of other genres to be able to actually progress as a film and as a story. Wolf Creek is generally classified as a horror/thriller film. This is clearly evident through the use of large amounts of blood and the killing of people. Horror films are designed to put fear in to a viewer whilst watching the film itself. To carry out such a task suspense is created through the use of scary music and even long periods of silence. This type of sound selection leaves viewers hanging on their seats waiting and anticipating what is to come. Along with sound directors of horror films use a lot a shock and disturbing images to convey a story that it is not only scary to audiences but also believable. Example of this from Wolf Creek include when Kristy is tied to a pole in Mick’s shed covered in blood and also when viewers see how Ben has been hung on the wall of eth cave with nails through his wrists. Horror has been identified as Wolf Creek’s number one genre. Wolf Creek also incorporates elements of the thriller genre. The thriller genre is normally a film that provides audiences with some kind of adrenaline rush or an idea of suspense. For example who is the killer? How did they kill the person? Etc. This is very much the case in the film Wolf Creek, however we actually know who the killer is in the film from the very time he starts to prey on his victims. The suspenseful part of this film is when the three backpackers find that none of their watches are working and the car won’t start. Another part of the film that is also like this is when Mick arrives to pick them up and help them out. Viewers are left asking, what are Mick’s motives and what is he really going to do for these three innocence backpackers that just want to explore the Australian wilderness? With out the containing some elements of the thriller genre Wolf Creek would not be able to convey such a realistic and scary story. Another genre that can also be identified within the context of this film is the road movie. The road movie is one that is centralized around people traveling in a car along a road. This can be seen in Wolf Creek as the three main characters decide to hit the road and explore the Australian outback. Their road adventure causes two of them to die. This is typical in most road movies as the road always tends to lead to some element of disaster. By including a small aspect of the road movie genre, Greg McLean was able to create a suspenseful and interesting film that works on a cause and effect basis luring viewers in to want to watch and see what happens to the central characters in the film. Critical Uptake of Wolf Creek at the Time of Release Wolf Creek was release in Australian cinemas on 3rd of November 2005. Before it was released there was a high expectation that this film would do well at the box office, not only at home but also over seas. During its first week of release the film did extremely well raking in the money, however the reviews being produced were not as expected. Many Australians viewed the film as a load of rubbish that just show cased how an Australian can create a horror film. This being a film that just contains a lot of killing along with a lot of blood. Although the majority of people didn’t like the film their was a small minority that actually admired the film. This was mainly due to the amazing work of first time director Greg McLean. If it wasn’t for McLean being such an unexpected success the film Wolf Creek would not have done so well when it was first released. Critical Uptake of Wolf Creek Now Wolf Creek has only just been recently released on to DVD. The film is still relatively new and people’s uptake of the film is very much the same as it was when it was first released in to cinemas. If anything the popularity of this film has once again decreased. People do not want to see the graphic portrayal of the true story of the murdered backpackers in the Australian outback. Although the majority of viewers still do not like the film there are a small few like myself who actually do enjoy watching this film. It is your typical suspense horror film. If this is something that appeals to you and interests you it would be worth seeing this film. Previous Works of Wolf Creek Crew Members A number of crew members working on this film are relatively new comers to the Australian cinema scene. This is director Greg McLean’s first feature film in which I must say he does a excellent job in creating a film that appeals to horror film lovers. McLean has previously worked on a small film entitled ICQ. He wrote, directed and produced this film like he did with Wolf Creek. Currently McLean is working on a new film entitled Rogue which is still in production. McLean is said to be working in the post production department for this film. So for those who enjoy Greg McLean’s work in Wolf Creek it would be worth your while checking out some of his other work in the Australian movie scene. Position and Value of Australian Film Success in the World Wolf Creek as a film did relatively well overseas when it was first released. However reviews were much the same as those found on home soil. This as a result places Australian films in some what of a negative light to overseas viewers. Australian film has its own unique and distinct style. This is clearly evident when watching Wolf Creek. Sometimes this style only appeals to a small proportion of the world’s population. Especially with Australian films as many are mostly just related to Australia and its people. I think that if Australian films are to be more of a success when being distributed overseas they need to incorporate elements that most people can relate to and issues that are of a world wide basis. If such elements were to be considered when creating an Australian film I feel the success overseas would be much more beneficial for those producing and creating Australian films. Wolf Creek may have slightly tarnished the image of Australian film overseas but it has displayed how Australian films are being created at such a high quality of work and how Australian cinema is so very different and unique to its country. Australian cinema is one of a kind and as a direct result I feel that the industry will find it difficult to gain huge success in the overseas market. References The Official Wolf Creek Website ,http://www.wolfcreekthemovie.com/, accessed 10th April 2006. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0416315, accessed 10th April 2006. http://rottentomatoes.com/m/wolf_creek/, accessed 10th April 2006. http://www.movies.yahoo.com/shop?d=hv&cf=info&id=1808628043, accessed 10th April 2006. http://www.movieweb.com/movies/film/09/2909/, accessed 10th April 2006. http://www.phily.com/mld/dailynews/living/13471660.htm, accessed 12th April 2006. http://jamcanoe.ca/Movies/Reviews/W/Wolf_Creek/, accessed 12th April 2006. http://pajiba.com/wolf-creek.htm, accessed 12th April 2006. http://southflorida.com/movies/sfl-shwdfdec23,0,3621659.story, accessed 12th April 2006. http://www.reallyscary.com/interviewmclean.asp, accessed 12th April 2006. http://www.futuremovies.co.uk/filmmaking.asp?ID+141, accessed 12th April 2006.
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