Cruelty and mayhem may not be your cup of tea, but if you consider horror to be as valid a genre as any other, you won’t want to miss Wolf Creek 2 – it’s a ripper.
Australia’s most-loved film critics have declined reviewing it on their TV show owing to its content (their darling Tarantino is often as violent), which seems too precious by half, but there is no such thing as bad publicity and the controversy will, in all likelihood, only strengthen its case among the great unwashed who might actually benefit from seeing it. John Jarratt is back as Mick Taylor, the ferociously horrible redneck bigot whom we initially encountered in 2005.
The character may be over the top, but caricature goes hand in glove with the excessive nature of this type of movie and – here’s the rub – there is something about Mick that is too scarily, too repulsively truthful.
It had not occurred to me the first time around that he is as representative of the Wide Brown Land that he claims to be a champion of as any fictional figure created in recent times.
There is a xenophobia at large in Australia that, far from being hosed down, is enthusiastically fanned by our populist federal government and its running dogs in the media.
The temper of the nation is uglier than at any time I can recall (Manus Island is a grotesque reflection of what we have allowed ourselves to become) and Mick Taylor, who proudly hates anything not Australian, is the man for the moment.
Whether this was director Greg Mclean’s intention is irrelevant – it is there to be confronted in stark, high-contrast imagery for anyone with a concern for who we are.
‘Who is Straya’s greatest ever cricketer?’ Mick asks the young English tourist as he applies an angle grinder to his fingers.
Troubling metaphor aside, the cinematography is classy, the SFX sensational – the car scenes are brilliantly executed – and, if the gothic indulgence is too much and the end unsatisfying, the reality is undeniable.
~ John Campbell