Wolf Creek (Greg McLean, 2005)

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Lino
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#1 Post by Lino » Thu Feb 09, 2006 11:53 am

I watched this one last night with a friend and we both left the theatre feeling shattered, trembling and sick. What a truly visceral experience! This one caused quite a damage. And I applaud them for it! I don't know if this one has opened yet in America but for those who liked High Tension and The Devil's Rejects, do check it out - this is raw moviemaking the likes of which doesn't get seen enough these days.

Devlinn and David Hare: I'm sorry but after this film I will never ever put my feet in your country! And I think I have seen enough of what I wanted to ever see of that bloody crater!

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Gordon
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#2 Post by Gordon » Sun Feb 12, 2006 8:43 pm

I, too left the cinema numbed and feeling sick. I went expecting a pretty slick 35mm 'horror' film, but it was shot on DV, with a post-production yellow grading and it has the same vibe as the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, as many people seem to have pointed out in reviews. It's a humourless film, too; no smart-alec quips and goofiness, here at all. When you are informed that they have been towed by Mick for 2 hours, I began to feel very nervous and when Ben jibes Mick and he gives him that analyzing glare, it was all over for me! A visceral experience, for sure, Annie, but it has its flaws - it's a very thin story and the set-up takes an age, but it far better than most 'scary' movies of the last few years.

The film is very loosely based on the real-life backpacker serial killer, Ivan Milat.

Personally, I think that young, weedy students who go hitchhike-backpacking in Oz are dumb as shit. I don't mean this as a slur on the people of Australia, but it can be such a desolate country and the world is teeming with perverted predators. The lure is the tax-free money from summer jobs and that it is an English-speaking country, but with the knowledge of Ivan Milat and Bradley Murdoch, I fail to see why any parent would be comfortable in seeing their son or daughter naively hoboing around the Bush, hitchhiking and slumming in squalid hostels with the good, the bad and the ugly of the human race. This is true of all countries, obviously, not just Oz. Damn my pessimism! But I'm right... aren't I?

This just in: Police step up hunt for backpacker

Fifty-year-old nurse takes sabbatical to go backpacking in ECUADOR... alone. Wisdom comes with age, my arse!

Definitely check out Wolf Creek, if you can.

Greg McLean's next film, Rogue is about a man-eating crocodile - nice! :D

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Lino
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#3 Post by Lino » Fri Feb 24, 2006 11:05 am


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#4 Post by Jem » Sat Feb 25, 2006 3:34 am

The Wolf Creek site freaks me out enough

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Lino
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#5 Post by Lino » Mon Mar 20, 2006 6:08 am

Rated and Unrated DVD versions coming out next month, on the 11th

Did this one have a limited release in the US or did it just slipped under many a people's radar? What happened? I was expecting it to become the talk of the town or something. It's that strong. Too strong at times, even. Oh, well - maybe it will be rediscovered in the rental format much like what happened to many 80's horror titles.

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#6 Post by Lino » Mon Mar 20, 2006 2:04 pm

Slightly OT, but has anyone watched The Ordeal yet? I just found out about it and it sounds like another one in the vein of Wolf Creek and High Tension. I'm curious to know.

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#7 Post by zedz » Mon Mar 20, 2006 4:57 pm

Annie Mall wrote:Slightly OT, but has anyone watched The Ordeal yet? I just found out about it and it sounds like another one in the vein of Wolf Creek and High Tension. I'm curious to know.
Very much in the vein of High Tension - almost to the point of being separated at birth - but The Ordeal is a bit more florid. I wasn't a fan of HT at all, but found it more viscerally effective than The Ordeal, which is less single-minded. If you're a fan of High Tension it's probably right up your alley.

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#8 Post by Lino » Mon Mar 20, 2006 5:30 pm

What do you mean by "florid" and "less single-minded"? Can you expand on that without giving too much away?

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#9 Post by zedz » Tue Mar 21, 2006 10:25 pm

Annie Mall wrote:What do you mean by "florid" and "less single-minded"? Can you expand on that without giving too much away?
High Tension is basically an extended one-on-one (or one-on-two, or two-on-one - you know the deal) chase: one fractured storyline followed through relentlessly. The Ordeal sprawls a lot more. You've got multiple baddies - and other ambiguous characters - with their own eccentric motivations, and the film takes a while to resolve what's going on, where the threat lies, and what the nature of the threat is. In the meantime, there are a lot of high-concept distractions (involving, among other things, livestock abuse and sexual confusion) before it too settles down into a climactic chase. Both films involve gender/identity confusion, rural malaise, pursuits across hostile terrains, extreme sadism and Philippe Nahon.

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#10 Post by franco » Wed Mar 22, 2006 1:40 am

I guess this DVD provides the only way to see The Ordeal before the US or UK DVD comes out... eventually.

You people make me want to see Wolf Creek so bad, but I am afraid I may be unable to comprehend Australian English without subtitles. I shall wait for the R1.

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#11 Post by Lino » Wed Mar 22, 2006 5:31 am

zedz wrote:Both films involve gender/identity confusion, rural malaise, pursuits across hostile terrains, extreme sadism and Philippe Nahon.
It's got Philippe Nahon?! I'm all over it! Man, that french DVD is really enticing (it's got english subs and all) but I've already done my shoppings for this month. Oh, well - I guess I won't have to wait much for next month's DVD fix - April is just around the corner!

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#12 Post by franco » Wed Mar 22, 2006 11:02 pm

Just wondering, is the Australian English really something to worry about, as Henrik mentioned in the review?

I realized that Wellspring (as well as Alliance Atlantis) is releasing the R1 version. That simply means I should get either the R2 or R4.

EDIT: Hey, Ordeal is coming to UK in May (but Tartan is attaching these fucking quotes again)

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#13 Post by Lino » Thu Mar 23, 2006 4:38 am

franco wrote:Just wondering, is the Australian English really something to worry about, as Henrik mentioned in the review?
You don't have to worry too much about the ozzie accent because most of the film is spoken with a british accent, the main characters being from England. Only midway does the down-under accent starts getting a bit hard to follow (I'm glad I went to see it at the theater - I had portuguese subs all the way, which really helped!). But I do agree with Henrik, and the UK edition SHOULD have included those really helpful little buggers called, the subtitles.

Franco, I do understand your urge to see this one but I recommend you to wait for the eventual R1. I know I will because the only reason I haven't bought the UK one, is down to the absence of those pesky little maggots called, you guessed it, the subtitles, ladies and gentlemen!

BTW, is there something wrong with the australian release?

About The Ordeal, I do know about the upcoming release of an UK edition and I guess I'm waiting for reviews for that one and that's also one of the reasons why I still haven't plunged for the french edition. It will all come down to how both of them fare (though I agree that the inclusion of those damned quotes is starting to get really fucking annoying! Do UK people really read them as gospel or what? I'm curious to know now).

Meanwhile, here's a review in english of the french edition of The Ordeal (be sure to avoid reading any spoilers - I know I have. Just go straigh to the audio and video and extras parts)

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#14 Post by franco » Thu Mar 23, 2006 6:01 am

Thanks Annie! I shall heed your advice. April 11th is not so far away!

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#15 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Thu Mar 30, 2006 5:18 pm

Here's an interesting article defending Wolf Creek and the current trend of gorey horror films (Saw, Hostel, et al). The guy's argument is that they are basically throwbacks to the gritty horror films of the '70s.

And here's a "review" of a Seattle Times critic who got so grossed out that she walked out of a screening of Wolf Creek.

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#16 Post by Lino » Mon Apr 03, 2006 12:02 pm

I really enjoyed reading this review by an Amazon.com customer. I found myself agreeing with him all the way:
The thing about horror movie conventions is that you get stuck following them. You get so used to them that you either figure the movie out before it even gets going or you might be scared but you're really simply going through the motions. Then comes a movie that plays with conventions and, at times, decimates them. You're no longer in your comfort zone. You no longer know what's going to happen. Wolf Creek is kind of like that movie.

It begins slowly as a road trip film. A great deal of the beginning is spent on developing characters (shock! What a novel concept!). At times it might drag a bit, but really its all set up. A lot of negative reviewers have commented that its boring. I guess in today's society of instant gratification I shouldn't be surprised...but I think the slower start works well for this movie. There are a couple scenes setting up a feeling of unease in your stomach. But what the beginning does really well is set you at ease before destroying that ease with one of the cruelest villains seen in today's horror film culture.

What happens when the scares start is out of a nightmare. I'm not going to say anything else about the plot because in the way it plays with conventions, there are some nice little twists in the plot. It keeps you on your toes. In fact, if you are an avid horror film buff, you will probably enjoy this movie the most simply because of the way it continues to crush horror film cliches and conventions. I think that's what impressed me the most about this movie. As a horror film buff, I sat there and watched in glee as things that normally happen in a horror film were turned on its head. Also, like a fellow reviewer has mentioned, with a cast of 3 protagonists, there really is no "cannon fodder." And you never know who will survive and who won't. I really want to talk more about it but it will ruin some of the little twists that really make this film what it is.

The movie is very dark in tone. It reminded me of the feel of High Tension (another great horror film this year). The gore isn't as over the top as High Tension which helps ground the film in the possible territory. And Australia is the perfect location for this film. The scenes of complete isolation and utter desolation; the kind where you don't know which way is which. Its disorienting in a way that many horror films try to capture but never fully express. Some scenes toward the end are so bleak and disorienting you can't help but feel lost and wondering if you were stranded out there what WOULD you do?

This has been an "interesting" year for horror films. On one hand there have been a ton of PG-13 horror films that have catered to the safe and money-making teen crowd. These films offer mainly the "boo" scare with the loud music and close ups. The kind of movie people shriek at because they are surprised, then spend the next ten minutes laughing about it. And there have been a few movies that have been "throw backs" to the 1970/early 80s horror/gore flicks; the really in your face flicks that at one time defined what horror was.

One of them took all of the bad parts of those films (The Devil's Rejects) and left out all of the good. This film did the exact opposite. What films like The Devil's Rejects forget is that violence for violence's sake does not instill terror. However, when you care about the characters, like in the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre and in this film, the violence gets under your skin. It gets into your head and you find yourself holding your breath that everyone makes it out okay...but knowing full well its not that kind of story.

Wolf Creek: a must see.
The Ordeal DVD (the french one) is now on my way and expect some thoughts when I finally sit down to watch it.

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#17 Post by Michael » Mon Apr 03, 2006 12:53 pm

Henrik Sylow likes Ordeal.

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#18 Post by franco » Mon Apr 03, 2006 12:57 pm

Sadly the commentary is missing. I guess now I need to find a way to get the French version.

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#19 Post by Lino » Tue Apr 04, 2006 3:51 am

DVDTalk reviews Wolf Creek

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Michael
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#20 Post by Michael » Fri Apr 14, 2006 9:44 am

I finally watched Wolf Creek last night. Wolf Creek is sooo sooo sick that it left me feeling nauseated and upset for the most of the night. Haute Tension is a cupcake compared to this one. Wolf Creek moves very straightforward with no surprises or twists unlike most current horror films. The last half of the film was extremely hard for me to take because those young people were really likeable and the killer was very real unlike the one in Haute Tension. During the first half, we get to know the young people just enough to make us care about them. Wolf Creek's intention is not to turn itself into a character drama but a simple, straightforward story about people being thrown in a bottomless crater with the most sick, sadistic killer you could ever seen. The film refuses to explain the killer's motivations. And we're left with only that and nothing more. So have fun. :|

Now I have to ask this: why would anyone want to own the DVD? To watch it repeatedly?

SPOILERS!!

With all the tools and weapons being available in the room, why didn't the women cut the killer's head off or rip his heart or face apart or light him on fire while he was lying down supposedly dead before they took off?

When one of the women walked into that silo filled with rotting corpses, why did she have to do that? That was so stupid. She was supposed to be finding the way OUT.

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#21 Post by Lino » Fri Apr 14, 2006 11:10 am

Michael wrote:Now I have to ask this: why would anyone want to own the DVD? To watch it repeatedly?
I for one am going to do just what I did with my Irreversible DVD: lend it to other people to freak the hell of them out! :twisted:

I really understand where you're coming from - this is one raw movie, as raw as it gets and as a film experience, it's truly visceral in the full sense of the word! And that's one of the reasons I would want to own it - to remind me every now and then just how important this medium really is when at the hands of truly talented people. Isn't that a good enough reason? Why would people want to own Salo? Exactly for the same reasons.

As Pasolini once said, "it's the artist's right and duty to provoke and shock people" or something like that and I believe him. Truly.

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#22 Post by Michael » Fri Apr 14, 2006 11:25 am

Why would people want to own Salo?

I own Salo for different reasons. I watch it once in a while just for the women narrating those x-rated "fairy tales" to the kids. How the words drip so smoothly from their lips and faces. Those faces! Salo no longer shocks me. I see it more as a sad, bitter poem of one of the most devastating chapters of history. I hope people don't watch Salo mainly for its shock value because it does have something important to say about the human condition. When the pianist falls to death, it makes me feel empty and lost that gets too unbearable for me, forcing me to break down every time.

Wolf Creek has a totally different intention.
Last edited by Michael on Fri Apr 14, 2006 11:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#23 Post by Narshty » Fri Apr 14, 2006 11:48 am

Annie Mall wrote:And that's one of the reasons I would want to own it - to remind me every now and then just how important this medium really is when at the hands of truly talented people. Isn't that a good enough reason?
Oh, give me a fucking break.

Anyone talentless hack can film torture, mutilation and sadistic murder in perverse detail and get a reaction out of an audience. There's a line where the act itself that horrifies the audience rather than how the filmmaker approaches it. Skill or talent doesn't even enter the equation.
Why would people want to own Salo? Exactly for the same reasons.
Again, total bollocks. Salo is a film with vastly more designed purpose than to simply gross out an audience. It's a serious work with great intellectual and, I would argue, moral standing. If you can't differentiate the intentions behind Salo and those of Wolf Creek, then I don't really know what to say.
As Pasolini once said, "it's the artist's right and duty to provoke and shock people" or something like that and I believe him. Truly.
To an extent, I'd agree. But "shocking" and "provoking" people is not the same things as "disgusting" and "appalling" them with sickeningly violent imagery and scenarios. It's about actual grass-roots ideas.

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#24 Post by Lino » Fri Apr 14, 2006 12:02 pm

Narshty wrote:
Annie Mall wrote:And that's one of the reasons I would want to own it - to remind me every now and then just how important this medium really is when at the hands of truly talented people. Isn't that a good enough reason?
Oh, give me a fucking break.

Anyone talentless hack can film torture, mutilation and sadistic murder in perverse detail and get a reaction out of an audience. There's a line where the act itself that horrifies the audience rather than how the filmmaker approaches it. Skill or talent doesn't even enter the equation.
Look, no need to be Nashty... There are plenty of films out there whose only intent is to disgust people while showing mutilation and torture and still try to make it entertaining at the same time, if you can find that entertaining, that is... :roll: The Devil's Rejects comes to mind but to me misses the mark by a long shot.

You see, these things are not meant to be fun and that's why I applaud the makers of Wolf Creek. Films like this remind me of that character out of Serial Mom who loves to watch horror movies and see people getting killed and then when one day she actually witnesses that, she says that it was not fun at all...I wonder why? :wink:

I understand that the comparison between Wolf Creek and Salo was not ideal. I was just trying to bring up a film that felt as sickening to me in the first viewing as much as when I recently watched Creek. And I do realize that morally and thematically, Salo is much more acomplished. I'm not that dumb, you know?

However, as survival films go, you simply cannot deny the power of this australian flick. But maybe we're in the Cannibal Holocaust territory (and God forbid this thread of evolving into that kind of discussion) and there will always be polarizing opinions about these kind of films.

Oh, and keep remembering: a movie is simply NOT just a movie...!

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#25 Post by Narshty » Fri Apr 14, 2006 12:20 pm

Annie Mall wrote:You see, these things are not meant to be fun and that's why I applaud the makers of Wolf Creek. Films like this remind me of that character out of Serial Mom who loves to watch horror movies and see people getting killed and then when one day she actually witnesses that, she says that it was not fun at all...I wonder why? :wink:
To be honest Annie, anyone who needs Wolf Creek around to remind themselves that violence is a bad thing shouldn't be allowed anywhere near it in the first place.

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