Based solely on the incredibly awesome first 10 minutes of Wolf Creek 2, three things are immediately clear…
1) Mick is the star of the show, this time around.
2) A pitch black layer of humor, and a sense of fun, have been infused into the proceedings.
3) The gore level has been cranked up to 11.
In Wolf Creek 2, Mick Taylor returns after nearly ten years, and he’s got a few more days to kill. Young German lovers Rutger and Katarina are backpacking through Australia when they cross paths with the monstrous psychopath that we first met back in 2005, and their fun romp around the Outback quickly turns into a nightmarish descent into pure terror; not just for them, but for everyone that they come into contact with.
In the retrospective piece I wrote about Wolf Creek here on iHorror last week, I compared Mick Taylor’s inaugural outing to the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, due to the way it effectively captured that same sense of pure, unfiltered dread and horror. I suppose it only makes sense that Wolf Creek 2 evokes the spirit of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Part 2, as McLean has chosen to do with this sequel what Tobe Hooper did with the follow-up to his masterpiece; shift gears and go for all out fun, rather than trying to capture that same terrifying lighting, in a different bottle.
For the most part, Wolf Creek 2 is a completely different experience than its predecessor, and it is in many ways the film that I was quite honestly glad that Wolf Creek was not – I say this not as a knock on the film, in any way. Whereas Wolf Creek had a strong focus on story and character development, Wolf Creek 2 mostly tosses all that stuff out in the window in favor of nonstop energy and action. It is, in so many words, Mick Taylor: The Thrill Ride, and if you’re asking me, that was the absolute perfect direction to go with the sequel.
Anyone who pops Wolf Creek 2 into their DVD player or gives it an On Demand rental has likely already seen the first film, and since we already know Mick Taylor pretty well, and are quite aware of the fact that anyone who crosses his path is nothing more than an addition to his collection of corpses, McLean instead just lets Mick do what Mick does best; hunt people down and brutally kill them. And it’s a whole lot of fun to watch him prowl the Outback, in the most macabre of ways. Dare I say I was kinda sorta rooting for him, rather than his victims, in the same way that we all root for folks like Freddy and Jason. The sign of a true horror icon, is it not?
Wolf Creek 2 is indeed the film where Mick Taylor solidifies his status as a bonafide horror icon, and John Jarratt’s performance is once again the best thing about the movie. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that Taylor is the closest thing to a modern day horror icon that we’ve got, and I have absolutely no problem speaking his name in the same sentence as some of the genre’s most well-known icons of fright. This sequel is, at the end of the day, a showcase of an unchained Mick being a total badass, and I can promise you that you’ll be feeling the same way about him by the end of it, if you don’t already.
Again, Wolf Creek 2 is very much the Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Part 2 to Wolf Creek‘s Texas Chainsaw Massacre, a sequel that focuses on fun, over the top action instead of gritty, nerve-shredding horror and intensity. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still plenty of horrifying shit on display here, particularly in the incredibly intense final 30 minutes, which play out like Hostel meets True Romance meets the world’s most twisted game show. The stretches of time between seeing heads explode and bodies disemboweled are always as minimal as they can possibly be, with impressive and gruesome practical effects mostly being utilized to depict the carnage. But fun is primarily the name of the game here… and boy is it ever.
With a much higher body count, a frenetic energy and a balls to the wall attitude, Wolf Creek 2 is a sequel that’s likely to turn off many fans of the first film’s slow-burn and super serious approach, the same way that the later Nightmare on Elm Street sequels turned off many by depicting Freddy as a humorous pop-culture icon. But if you’re along for the ride, I can promise you that it’s one you’re going to have a hell of a time on.
If you’re asking me, there’s nothing more boring than a sequel that delivers more of the same, and since I always enjoy when horror sequels bring something completely different to the table, I personally had a blast with the big time change in tone that McLean has brought to the table with this blood-soaked second trip through the Outback.
Wolf Creek 2 is the first great horror film that I’ve seen in 2014, and one of the best horror sequels of all time. Can’t recommend it highly enough. It will be available on VOD outlets April 17th, with a limited theatrical release on May 16th.