Wolf Creek (2005) - Unrated

Genre(s): Horror / Thriller
Weinstein Company || Unrated - 104 minutes - $29.95 || April 11th, 2006
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2006-04-28


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Greg McLean
Writer(s): Greg McLean (written by)
Cast: John Jarratt, Nathan Phillips, Cassandra Magrath, Kestie Morassi


Theatrical Release Date: December 25th, 2005


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Writer/Director, Executive Producer & Actors Commentary
  • The Making of Wolf Creek
  • Deleted Scene
  • Theatrical Trailer


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.78)
  • Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, French)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

Plot Outline (from DVD back cover): Three unsuspecting hikers take off for a drive actress Australia. When the trio returns from a four-hour hike to Wolf Creek National Park, they find their car dead. Help comes in the form of big, back-slapping bushman Mick (John Jarratt). Since Mike appears to be more Crocodile Dundee than Freddy Krueger, the trio trusts him... which proves to be grave mistake.

I realize I'm not the target audience for a horror movie like Wolf Creek (although I do enjoy the occasional one), I decided to give this one a try. While all in all it's an OK movie, it's not quite complete. Yes, it's grisly, gory and everything one could want from a horror flick, but there's also 20-30 minutes of "character development" that, frankly, wasn't really needed.

We begin our adventure with British chicks Liz Hunter (Mcgrath) and Kristy Earl (Morassi) who go on an outback trip with aussie Ben Mitchell (Phillips). After getting stranded at the national park and getting help from Dundee Mick (Jarrett), the three are led to Mick's base camp overnight, they wake up the next morning to a whole new horror.

First, what I liked about Wolf Creek was Mick himself. As Quentin Tarantino stated (on the front cover), "John Jarrett delivers a performance that's destined to go down as one of the great horror film heavies of the last 25 years." That is indeed true. Jarrett's performance, though at times over the top, was the one thing that salvages Wolf Creek from being just another low budget, forgettable horror show.

The biggest problem I had was writer/director Greg McLean tries to develop these characters in a movie that didn't need it. What was shown in the first act? Liz likes Ben. Ben likes Liz. Kristy is the third wheel looking for a partner. Within this act, we get to see these college-aged kids do what college-aged kids do: drink, party and drink some more.

Having never seen the theatrical version, I don't know what was added back in. However, the theatrical ran at 99 minutes, while this unrated version clocks in at 104, so easily 5-minute were added back in. Is it bloodier or just more character development? I hope it's the former.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Although not overly packed with features, what is there is pretty good, considering it is a movie that didn't make much at the box office. Because this is the unrated edition, there won't be a double dip on this one (at least I hope not, but I guess you never know with these studios).

Writer/Director, Producer and Actors Commentary - Four commentators join in to talk about their experience on the film and the troubles in making said film. Writer-Producer-Director Greg McLean, executive producer Matt Hearn and actresses Cassandra Magrath and Kestie Morassi do a fine and entertaining job explaining what scenes they liked doing, what they didn't and how they got along with each other.

The Making of Wolf Creek - Features interviews with many involved like director McLean, the four main cast members (Jarratt, Phillips, Magrath and Morassi) and the producers as well as other crew members. To start out, McLean describes how he came up with the story. Originally it was a big script that would've cost too much to make, so he focused on the three hikers. The majority of this was interesting to watch getting glimpses of making the set and the make-up. They get into the difficulty in making a movie on a $1.5 million budget. Beyond the factoids, there's plenty of behind-the-scenes footage of McLean setting up shots. There was one aspect to this featurette where, on a closed set where even the camera for this was not allowed, during the filming of the torture scene and seeing the cast and crew shaken by what they're hearing outside. Seeing it in the movie was tough, hearing it being filmed was even more so. They take this 50-minute featurette from the pre-production to filming to post with editing and music.

Deleted Scene - There was one scene that did not make it back in for the unrated edition (the region 4 release features all the scenes, including this one). Obviously this didn't make it for a reason and thankfully so. It's not bad, but there was no need for it. It runs around 38 seconds (good portion of which Ben is merely looking for a roap map) and features another crazy person (not unlike the gas attendant).

There's also a theatrical trailer included.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

Picture: Presented in widescreen, 1.78 aspect ratio, Wolf Creek is dark and grisly in its style and tone. While watching, in both story and the look, the movie reminded me in many ways to 1974's Texas Chainsaw Massacre and even the 2003 remake. As stated in the 'making-of' featurette, the movie was filmed on a hi-def video.

Sound: The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix isn't anything great but decent enough even for a horror movie. It's not as intense as it could'e been with the blood curdling screams or Mick's sick and twisted laughs, but there's no complaint from me.



.::OVERALL::.

Wolf Creek isn't a great horror film but because of psycho villain Mick, it does make the movie better than it should've been. I liked certain aspects to it as a couple scenes did make me squirm, but the lead up to the meat of the film could've been cut down.

In terms of the DVD, fans of the film and of DVD's in general, will enjoy what is offered. Like I said, there's not a whole lot of features, but still more than some Hollywood films get that are more successful.