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Wolf Creek

TV review by
Jenny Nixon, Common Sense Media
Wolf Creek TV Poster Image
Violent, gore-filled slasher movie spin-off isn't for kids.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Characters persevere, but not often for the right reasons. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The central protagonist is Eve, a young woman who narrowly escaped the killer after her family was slaughtered, and who does whatever she can to make good on her vow avenge them by capturing the killer and bringing him to justice (whatever form that justice may take). There's a lame, clichéd bit with an aboriginal man who happens upon Eve and magically heals her wounds, and trains her in the art of spear-throwing.

Violence

Though not quite as graphic as the films, there's still a great deal of blood-spattered, intense violence. Limbs are sawed off, people are blown away with guns and impaled with huge hunting knives, others are chained up and tortured. Not for the faint of heart.

Sex

Lots of sleazy commentary from men, women are frequently threatened with rape. Full frontal male nudity is seen, Eve takes a waitressing job where the staff uniform is bikini tops and miniskirts, customers are lecherous. A few brief kisses.

Language

Most swearing is on the level of "hell," "bitch," "s--t." Only in the last episode do we really get a large smattering of F-bombs.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The protagonist is a recovering painkiller addict, though she's never depicted as high. Many characters drink and smoke, scenes in various bars and nightclubs. A bag of weed is confiscated from someone's vehicle.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Wolf Creek is an Australian horror series spun off from the movies of the same name -- and like the films, it isn't intended for kids. The series features copious, gory violence with gruesome shots of dead bodies and disemboweling, of humans and animals alike. Children are murdered and piled atop their dead parents, then dismembered with a chainsaw. Weapons like hunting knives, spears, pistols, rifles, fire, and even snake venom are used. A crocodile attacks a child and is shot dead, rabbits and kangaroos are hunted and killed. Characters smoke and drink, a bag of weed is confiscated from a character's vehicle. Women are threatened with rape and tortured. There's full frontal male nudity. Some racial stereotyping occurs with a "magical aborigine" character.

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What's the story?

WOLF CREEK is an anthology-style TV series that serves as the latest iteration of the Australian horror franchise that kicked off with two feature films of the same name (Wolf Creek and Wolf Creek 2). The inaugural season follows former track star and recovering painkiller addict Eve Thorogood (Lucy Fry) as she and her family explore the outback via RV, a last-ditch effort at bonding and father/daughter reconciliation. After a harrowing experience with a hungry crocodile, their paths soon cross with Mick Taylor (John Jarratt), the same viciously nasty serial killer featured in the Wolf Creek films. He makes quick work of slaughtering Eve's parents and little brother, and mistakenly leaves her seriously wounded but still alive -- an oversight he may come to regret, as Eve is determined to spend the rest of her days unearthing his secrets and avenging her family.

Is it any good?

The series is true to the films all right: a tired string of boilerplate slasher movie clichés enacted by a single-minded, near-supernatural serial killer whose greatest sin might be how boring he is. Same old backstory (abusive, drunken parents and a childhood curiosity about killing), same old dumb quips as he's taking out his victims. Despite some attractive cinematography -- it's hard to make the sweeping, desolate landscapes of Australia look bad -- and committed performances, the story itself is wafer-thin and brings nothing new to the table. Suspension of belief is one thing, but the ridiculous way all the characters behave (if this series is to be believed, Australia has perhaps the least effective police force on the planet) just takes things to whole new levels of silliness. Recommended for diehard Wolf Creek completists only.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Wolf Creek's violence. How did it affect you? Did it make you feel excited or queasy? What other kinds of violence have you seen on television, and how does it compare? Which kind has the biggest impact?

  • What did you think of Eve's journey from sullen, recovering addict to empowered revenge-seeker? Was it realistic? Do you think the methods she employed to avenge her family's deaths were justified?

TV details

For kids who love scary stuff

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