Burn it to the Ground, by Sarah Brinks
There is a lot to be learned from modern day horror films. You can learn the most effectives weapon against a zombie hoard, how to spot an alien’s “weak spot,” how to effectively rid your house of unwanted spirit activity, or that you should never, ever build your house on ancient Native American burial grounds. What horror films have yet to really teach us is: how to beat a psychotic serial killer such as Wolf Creek 2’s Mick Taylor. While Mick’s motivations seem to stem from a desire to preserve Australia and its resources for Australian’s alone, he is clearly a lunatic who kills almost indiscriminately. It’s hard to battle madness, especially when it has a power grinder and your hand in a vice.
Full disclosure: I have not seen the first film Wolf Creek. I looked for it, but could not finding it legally streaming for free and after seeing Wolf Creek 2 I wasn’t going to invest even $2.99 to be caught up for this review. I beg forgiveness reader, but our time on this planet is limited and I already wasted two hours on the sequel I’m not going to waste any more time on this franchise.
Wolf Creek 2 begins with a pair of highway cops pulling over Mick Taylor’s truck and giving him a speed citation. Mick wasn’t speeding and in retaliation he literally blows one of the cops heads off as they drive away. He then sets the other cop on fire inside the overturned police car and burns him to death. Then we become invested in a cute, young German couple hitchhiking their way across Australia. When they fail to hitch a ride from the Wolf Creek Crater, they are forced to camp on national park land. Mick finds them, brutally murders the boy, and knocks out and kidnaps the girl. The girl wakes up to find Mick dismembering her boyfriend and she runs away. As she runs she stops a car driven by our final protagonist, an Englishman named Paul. Paul is freaked out to find this bloodied, frantically screaming German girl with her hands tied. Mick comes after them in his truck and Paul tries to outrun him. Eventually, Mick shoots the German girl and Paul gets away. Of course, Mick isn’t done with him. He gets another truck and we are forced to sit through a Duel-style chase scene that includes our hero running out of gas, a kangaroo massacre, and a lot of running commentary from Mick.
The violence in the first hour-and-a-half of the film is pretty cartoony. It is horrific, but is shot in a style that never really feels authentic. That is until the last half an hour when Mick has Paul tied up in his underground torture chamber. Then it starts to get pretty gnarly and gross. I don’t mind violence in horror movies, even graphic violence is ok as long as it serves a purpose. Violence for violence’s sake feels exploitative to me. This is the reason “torture porn” has never appealed to me as a film genre. The last half-hour of Wolf Creek 2 teeters on that line.
Australian John Jarratt plays Mick Taylor. While I have apparently seen Jarratt in other films, I don’t remember any of his performances. In Wolf Creek 2 he is the most put-another-shrimp-on-the-
I mentioned Duel earlier, but the film that Wolf Creek 2 is very similar to, but much worse than, is Joy Ride. There are beats in Wolf Creek 2 that are almost identical to Joy Ride. But Joy Ride has protagonists that you have time to invest in, and a villain that is actually menacing and scary. We ALWAYS know where Mick is and what his skills are at all times, so there is nothing left to the imagination. Mick Taylor is clearly a lunatic but he is also extremely irritating and ridiculous. Joy Ride also has the Thomas brothers as its protagonists. We probably spend too much in that movie getting to know them but in Wolf Creek 2 we know nothing about Paul until he is tortured at the end, so it is hard to really invest him beyond the fact that he is an innocent, good-looking guy in a terrible situation.
The only way to enjoy this film is in a “it’s so bad it’s good” style movie night with a lot of friends and a lot of alcohol. I don’t think the intension of the film was to be taken as a serious piece of cinema but I found it over-long, irritating, and under-whelming. This film belongs in the annals of Netflix Watch Instantly with Starship Troopers 2 and Zombie Hunter.