Greg McLean’s 2005 Wolf Creek certainly made a splash upon its arrival, thrusting the vicious, maniacal Mick Taylor (John Jarratt) and his penchant for butchering tourists in to the hearts of many a horror hound. A slightly disappointing sequel followed in 2013, but now Mick’s back with his own mini-series… although things may not be going all his way this time out.
Much like we’ve seen in the two movies, this six-episode affair sees Mick patrolling the Australian outback looking to indulge in his favourite pastime – slaughtering tourists. And as luck would have it, the terrifying Taylor happens across an American family who have made the ill-judged decision to pull up in the outback to take in some of the charms of Australia’s desolate landscape. In typical Mick Taylor fashion, it doesn’t take long for this family to meet their maker as Mick dispatches them in a matter of seconds. That is, however, apart from the troubled teenage daughter of the group, Eve (Lucy Fry). Managing to just about survive the attack that left the rest of her family dead, Eve now has one thing on her mind: revenge.
To describe it in the simplest of terms, the Wolf Creek mini-series is essentially a six-hour revenge story as we see the tables turned and the hunter become the hunted. In Eve, we see a journey from traumatised victim to somebody who is fearless once the realisation hits home that she has nothing else to lose. Along the way, of course, there are plenty of faces who pop up – some to aide her, some to cause her further torment – but the endgame is simply to find Mick Taylor and exact some cold-blooded revenge for the death of her family. As ever, though, Mick is at the top of his game and won’t be making it easy for Eve.
In this mini-series, we’ve been given something that is truly stunning to view; the desolate, vacuous feel of the outback being a pleasure to take in, with the delightful cinematography and direction likely to leave you feeling as if you’re actually coming down with heatstroke. Added to this, the score from Burkhard von Dallwitz only furthers the feeling of desperation and desolation that drips over Wolf Creek like a dirty, sweaty rag. But at its core, Wolf Creek is about the storytelling and the performances.
As Eve, Lucy Fry brings a multi-layered performance that’s a true joy to behold. This is a character who is dealing with immense guilt – it was her drug addiction that saw her family decide to embark on an Australian vacation – and remorse, yet she soon comes to realise that her life now has a new purpose: to exact revenge for the atrocity dealt out to her and her family. From a timid victim who sees the menacing memory of Mick Taylor at every turn, to a balls-to-the-wall shit-kicking survivor, Fry dazzles and marks herself out as a talent to keep an eye on. And in all of this, she’s helped out and guided by Sullivan Hill (Dustin Clare), a cop who has Eve’s best interests in mind but who also has his own wish to take down the monster who has slaughtered so many in the Australian outback. Then there’s the brutal murderer himself, with John Jarrett on ever-boisterous form as the calculating, abusive and clinical Mick, again making the character seem like a well-tanned, grizzled Freddy Krueger in how he takes such pleasure in what he does.
Wolf Creek may drag just a tad during its middle, with the story at that time feeling like it maybe doesn’t warrant six whole episodes, but the tension and carnage is soon picked up as the mini-series goes headlong into its conclusion – and in fairness, the slower-paced second and third episodes actually feel warranted in hindsight when looking back at the series as a whole.
Whilst many felt that Wolf Creek 2 was a down step for the Wolf Creek franchise, this six-episode mini-series is a bloody, brutal, rip-roaring return to form.
Special Features: Six featurettes
WOLF CREEK – THE COMPLETE FIRST SERIES / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: GREG MCLEAN, TONY TILSE / SCREENPLAY: PETER GAWLER, GREG MCLEAN, FELICITY PACKARD / STARRING: JOHN JARRATT, LUCY FRY, DUSTIN CLARE, ANDY MCPHEE, JESSICA TOVEY, DAMIAN DE MONTEMAS / RELEASE DATE: OCTOBER 10TH