Wolf Creek 2 opens with a pre-credits bit of fun in which murderous nutbag Mick Taylor (John Jarratt) is pulled over and harassed by a pair of thug-like cops. Of course, they get their comeuppance and then some. It puts the audience on notice: Mick might be a rapist and serial killer, but this time around he’s the hero of the tale. And why shouldn’t he be? John Jarratt is extremely charismatic as Mick, and he gets all the good lines, throwing out the Aussie slang and swearwords at every possible opportunity. In his own likable way he’s someone we can cheer for – apart from the murdering, of course.
We then meet a pair of German backpackers, Rutger (Phillipe Klaus) and Katarina (Shannon Ashlyn), who are wandering around the outback, having fun and hitch-hiking all over the place – which in a Wolf Creek film isn’t exactly the most reassuring thing. So far so average, and when Mick turns up and swears at them a bit, the tension isn’t really there. Then our focus changes to British jeep-driver Paul (Ryan Coor), and surprise, surprise, we know even less about him. He’s got a girlfriend and he’s got a Jeep. That’s it.
There’s only so far you can go in a movie that features no human characters, and aside from one scene late in the film, Paul’s work here largely consists of looking and acting terrified. Mick gets a truck, Paul finds some farmers to take him in, Mick kills a few more people, there’s a moderately interesting face-off between Paul and Mick involving a deadly quiz on Australian history, and if you’ve ever seen a horror movie sequel in your life you know the territory writer/director Greg Mclean is mining here.
In the first film Mick seemed like a believable rogue killer. Now he’s become a cartoon, complete with massive lair and near-supernatural speed when he needs to get one over an old homesteader. He’s a wise-cracking monster and everyone else is merely fodder. Where’s the tension there?
Written by Anthony Morris