Monday, June 23, 2014

Greg Mclean's "Wolf Creek 2" - Steeplechases in Remote Australia

A pair of bored highway police officers patrol a desolate strip of the Australian backways. When they finally see a lone vehicle plying the route, they stop and ticket him - just for kicks. Little did they realize who they were dealing with. Not long after, the younger cop gets his head blown into smithereens while the older one is made to crawl and, later, burn to his demise inside their patrol car. Carnage follows when a couple of German backpackers are hiking their way to Wolf Creek Crater, a well-preserved meteorite crater found in a remote area in Western Australia. When night falls, the campers meet grumpy Mick Taylor (the creepy John Jarratt), the same highway culprit earlier encountered by the erring cops.

Mick offers to take them to a camping site but when the couple refuses his "help", he turns to them, bludgeoning cute pie Rutger (Philippe Klaus) with his knife and raping Katarina (Shannon Ashlyn). Later, we see Mick dissecting Rutger's remains into pieces. He even snips off Rutger's penis, raises it for inspection and quips, "Ain't he a donkey."

This gives Katarina the chance to escape - and get haunted by Mick who didn't want to let go of his "new toy". Katarina strays to the highway, "rescued" by British surfer Paul (Ryan Corr) who takes his sweet time to interrogate her in the middle of nowhere. Would they escape Mick's steeplechase? Guess.

Like its predecessor screened 8 long years ago, Greg Mclean's "Wolf Creek 2" follows a framework not dissimilar from the first. Strangers stray to a remote place and finds their sanguinary comeuppance. The concept is intriguing as much as its employ of a mysterious crater, discovered by scientists in 1947. The metaphor- laden association is uncanny and stokes a degree of paranoia and wonder among us.

The film is buoyed by a charismatic cast and a villain that seems sturdier than metal or mortal (see: he gets hit by a hammer yet he stands, bloodied, but seemingly unhurt). Before long, we're treated with carcasses and snappy slideshows of bondage and rotting corpses. Novelty wears off half way through though what buoys the remaining narrative is Ryan Corr's enigmatic presence. in fact, at the torture chair, we wince and grunt as he loses some of his fingers to a "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire"-style mind game.

Like many films of its genre, the characters exhibit immense stupidity in multiple situations. They linger when they're supposed to run away. When given the chance to fight back, they allow the villain to recover when they could easily finish him off and end their misery right there. This narrative ruse is, of course, unfortunate because you don't want them harmed. I mean, come on, I'd rather see Kris Aquino appearing in another Chito Rono flick - with stickers of "My Little Bossings" on her forehead, cut down to pieces and her tongue tied down her double chin - than Ryan, Ashlyn or Philippe in several stages of dismemberment. Now that would rid this Oprah-wannabe of her eternally smug countenance, right?

Other than all the blood bath, we were quite comfortable right where we were sitting the whole duration of the film. For a suspense thriller, that's not such a good thing.

The prologue offers that some 30,000 people are reported "missing" in Australia every year - 90% of whom are eventually found. The rest is gone forever. And yeah, this story is based on actual events. I have my doubts, but who am I to say? ;)

Ryan Corr as Paul Hammersmith

Wolf Creek Crater is believed to be 300,000 years old (Pleistocene) but was discovered in 1942. It was named after a gold rush-era storekeeper Robert Wolfe. 

Ryan Corr seems to transform well. Check out a younger, albeit sunshiny Ryan below.

When Ryan Corr was younger. Wasn't he a doll?

Philippe Klaus

Shannon Ashlyn

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