What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this movie isn't for kids. It features gruesome (and, once it begins, relentless) violence implemented by knives, rifles, and brutal beatings. Characters drink and smoke cigarettes (at least until they are attacked by the killer); one couple kisses briefly. On the road, they use filthy gas station bathrooms. Girls scream, escape, fight back, and scream again. Alarming images include bloody faces, threats of rape, bound limbs, gags, blood smears on floors and walls, and a graphic description (with shadowy visual demonstration) of a torture method by which the killer severs a girl's spine but leaves her conscious (he calls it "head on a stick," and says it was practiced in the Vietnam war).
What's the story?
Based on "actual events," WOLF CREEK follows the harrowing adventures of 20-somethings Ben (Nathan Phillips), Liz (Cassandra Magrath), and Kristy (Kestie Morassi), who drive for days to reach to Wolf Creek, a meteor crater and hiking area in the Australian Outback. When their car breaks down, Mick (John Jarratt) emerges from the pitch-black night and offers a tow to his garage where he says he can fix their engine. Uneasy, they go along and try not to make fun of their "colorful" host. After an evening spent chatting by a campfire, Liz wakes to find herself tied, gagged, and bloodied in a shed, having been drugged and dragged from her friends. Meanwhile, Mick is torturing Kristy in another building. Now free, Liz finds a collection of snapshots and video footage of Mick's previous victims and realizes he's a demented serial killer. Far from civilization, Liz and Kristy can only run and fall, scream and drive, crash and scream some more.
Is it any good?
With a plot predictable by generic definition (it's a slasher movie), Wolf Creek's only context is other movies like it. The victims become monstrous to fight their abductor. The monster plods on, incessant, cruel, ordinary.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the random violence wreaked by an implacable, inexplicably cruel killer. This film takes up a "vintage" aesthetic, recalling low-budget, '70s horror films: what are the appeals of this look and associated class politics (middle class victims, underclass/demented/monstrous killers)? Families can also discuss what it means for a scary movie like this to be based on "actual" events. Do teens believe what they see really happened?