Greg Mclean’s debut feature, Wolf Creek (2005), was astonishingly depraved—a film that began as a tender study of a group of Aussie hikers in the outback before morphing into an especially gruesome and hopeless slasher movie. The bleakness was bracing, and John Jarratt’s redneck-from-hell, Mick Taylor, was a bogeyman par excellence: Down Under’s answer to Freddy Krueger and Leatherface. One failed crocodile movie later (2007’s Rogue), Mclean now returns to the Wolf Creek well with this amped-up, jokey sequel that undercuts much of what made the first film special.
Jarratt is back as Mick, still hunting “pigs” (his euphemism for tourists or anyone who dares cross him), and he’s front and center from scene one, slitting throats, breaking bones and tossing off way too many groaner quips (“Welcome to Australia, cocksucker!”). He sets his sights on a backpacking German couple (Shannon Ashlyn and Philippe Klaus). But after unwitting U.K. tourist Paul (Ryan Corr) interrupts his stalk-and-kill routine, a more lethal game begins.
The can-you-top-this? ridiculousness reeks of desperation: Let us never again speak of a digital kangaroo massacre scored to “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” Once Mick gets Paul to his rattier-than-ever backwoods lair, things marginally improve. A lengthy sequence in which our poor victim distracts Mick with an Oz history lesson to avoid having his fingers sanded off achieves just the right mix of dark comedy and eyes-averting grisliness. Mostly, though, this Creek has run dry.
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