Wolf Creek follows a young woman, Eve (Lucy Fry), who survives a brutal encounter with the malicious and infamous Mick Taylor (John Jarratt). As the psychopath continues his trail of carnage across the outback, Eve takes matters into her own hands to stop the serial killer once and for all. But is Mick even the worst evil the outback has to offer?
Wolf Creek Review
While trying to finish up various TV series (Stranger Things 2, Mindhunter) at once, one show beat the rest to the finish line...the Shudder exclusive Wolf Creek series. It was a bit easier to get through with its fewer episodes, and as such it felt like an extended Wolf Creek cinematic sequel.
Many of my fellow horror patrons aren't fans of the Wolf Creek franchise. I get it. The sequel in particular is a mixed bag. It can't fully decide what it wants to be. Slasher films aren't high on the docket of horror genres for me personally, so anything that is a change of pace to the genre is a welcomed sight for me. I admittedly enjoy the first film. I like the sadistic malevolence of Mick, with his clever and unsettling one-liners with a cold, menacing smirk across his face.
The TV series expands on this world, giving us an extended glimpse into Mick's environment, his lifestyle, and even his past. Sometimes the appeal of a serial killer/monster in a horror franchise is not getting the motif. Where did the graboids (Tremors) come from, or why is Michael Myers a cold killing machine? Sometimes a lack of explanation is better than having one. And while we get a dose of unnecessary explanation here, the show doesn't center around it.
Instead, the show spends a good portion of its time following Eve as she tries to track down the killer that murdered her family. And what we discover is that the outback may have more gruesome people than Mick hiding in it. I honestly don't know how I feel about this...Is it a commentary on the moral state of the rural locales of Australia, or is it an imaginative take on a post-apocalyptic world that hasn't actually experienced an apocalypse? Either way, the show's perspective on humanity is rather bleak. Mick isn't a rare breed, he's just another guy who fits right in.
The show, at times, seems to struggle with a way to keep the horror going. That isn't to say there aren't moments, it's just that there were two strategies implemented to get things cooking in every episode; have Eve experience the immoral nature of humanity from a stranger, or cut to Mick cutting someone open randomly. I get the dilemma...it's hard to imbue a story and keep the action up at the same time, and this show doesn't do a bad job of it, it just feels clunky at times.
Wolf Creek never felt like it had the premise to draw out a franchise, let alone a TV series that follows up the sequel. Yet, the show holds its own as a good piece of horror television. The slasher is usually a good home for episodic entertainment, but it can also be difficult to gauge what exactly the target audience is looking for. Wolf Creek, admirably, tries to accommodate, while putting the moral fiber of men on a skewer and parading it around. I suppose with all the Hollywood scandal crap breaking lately, it's a timely piece for reflection on our state as a global culture.
Horror Qualifier: 7/10
Horror Quality: 6/10
TV Quality: 6/10