The Red Right Hand

How Can You Be Found When No-One Knows You're Missing

Greg McLean
John Jarratt
Nathan Phillips
Cassandra Magrath
Kestie Morassi

A friend of mine once referred to the entire population of Australia as nothing more than exiled cockney rapists, this may not necessarily be true but Wolf Creek doesn't do much to inspire the average tourist; showing beautiful Australian scenery acting as a backdrop for these horrifically savage and deplorable acts of madness - gotta love the Aussies. Yet another original horror/psycho slasher film graces our screens with claims about people going missing, never to be seen again and how helpful the natives can be - until you push their buttons (namely Crocodile Dundee impersonations) when they turn into evil cadaver-carving lunatics.

The tale starts with a young Australian, Ben [Phillips] buying a car for a trip to Wolf Creek -the impact crater of a meteor that hit thousands of years ago- with two English ladies he met at a party, or something. Following this we cut to the two girls in question Kristy [Morassi] and Liz [Magarth] lying on a beach talking about their two week trip, that they can't believe it's come to an end; the usual end-of-holiday banter. For the next hour we are subjected to the three leads driving through the barren deserts of the outback. This involves: driving, singing, laughing, looking and driving. Needless to say you really start to grate with the story and would prefer something to happen, so much so that when they finally pull into the town of Emu Creek (must be the way of naming towns in Australia, take the first animal you can think of and stick a geographical terminology on the end) you want them to get stabbed, shot or brutally assaulted. I'm not a sadistic man but watching three people in a car does start to remind you that you're sitting in a dark room watching a metal box coasting through the middle of nowhere.

Having said all that, Emu Creek serves as a nice interval. Feeling the same as our weary travellers, we're treated to a short break, a chance to wake up and stretch our legs - cinematically and metaphorically speaking. Ben begins topping up the petrol and playing with his camera when he stumbles across a local. Watching Ben's camcorder pan around focusing solely on his face I was half expecting a jump moment a la The Descent but no such luck. After this brief section of comedy we follow the girls inside the cafe, where they're subjected to a bit of yokel-sexism driven innuendo. This helps you generate an impression of your typical bush-tucker-aus (according to the film of course, it's the same problem with Green Street Hooligans giving the English a bad name. Personally I harbour no resentment or ill will towards the Australians - after all we beat them in the 2003 Rugby World Cup final...) and how insanely prejudice and sexist they are.

With this nasty spell behind us our heroes trek on. Finally reaching the creek we are treated to some pretty aerial shots and they head back to the car to find it doesn't work (interesting ploy here with regards to radioactivity, watches stopping, etc) . . .  then they sleep in the car. Now, at this point I would have dubbed this film a little arty but lacking any drive what-so-ever, I don't mind these kinds of films but when you have seen posters and trailers that boast this as the greatest horror film for decades you'll probably get a little testy, as I was. Out of the night they see a distant light, coming towards them - I won't hype it up, it's a truck, oooooh scary. Inside the truck is a helpful, friendly chap called Mick [Jarratt]; Mick uses words & phrases like "you mob" "drongo" and "savvo" so you immediately like him. He tows them to 'his place,' his place being some abandoned mining town (I'll be honest, I wasn't paying a lot of attention, I was waiting for Mick to go psycho and eat them or something) and after a Crocodile Dundee joke -"this is a knife"- Mick gives Ben a long, hard and uncomfortably odd stare. Then Liz wakes up all gagged and bound! WHOO! Finally!

The next half an hour was the highlight of the film, everything I had been promised: horrific, disgusting, disgraceful, shameful and down-right despicably twisted cruelty. I stand by the fact that Deliverance & The Texas Chain Saw Massacre took the same concept and delivered (please excuse the pun) it in a more intelligent manner but that's not to say that Wolf Creek doesn't offer something unique. Unfortunately all of this was undermined by the fact that it took an hour of tedium to shake things up to an explosive level - which would explain the immense shock of the gore - and that it claims to be 'based on true events' yet the twist at the end, with regards to Ben, leads us to believe that it may have been all made up and that the events that happened to Liz & Kristy in the film was indeed fictional - though I'm sure it's based on numerous accounts of police files detailing savage acts against tourists.

Release Date:
16 September 2005

The Scene To Look Out For:
The Mad Max-esque chase scene gives a nice break from the night-bound running that we've been experiencing for the majority of the film - very well filmed.

Notable Characters:
Mick, gotta love the psycho Aussie, no matter how crazed he is! My hat goes off to you Jarratt.

Highlighted Quote:
"You see that one there? She was good, her and me. I made her last for weeks"

In A Few Words:
"You could sleep through two thirds of the film and you wouldn't miss anything"

Total Score:

Matthew Stogdon