Long in development, Wolf Creek 2, Greg Mclean's sequel to his infamous 2005 original, finally went before the cameras this year. John Jarratt is back as the cackling Outback serial killer Mick Taylor, and heralding the film's auspicious debut at the Venice Film Festival, a new set of stills has just been unleashed.
Wolf Creek saw a group of backpackers falling foul of Jarratt's horribly matey nutcase, but if that set-up seems generic, the film itself cleverly played with audience expectations. It knew what you thought was going to happen, and always did something else. Talk turned to a sequel immediately: Wolf Creek was Australia's biggest hit of its release year, and its biggest adult-rated movie of all time. Mclean felt he'd cracked a workable screenplay by 2010, but it's taken this long to get the thing up and running.
Wolf Creek 2 sets up another group of unwitting young travellers, but the response from those who've seen it suggests a slightly bigger scale this time. We're out of the Outback and onto the highway, with at least one major sequence that's drawing comparisons to Duel.
The trick was, Mclean said a couple of years ago, "maintaining the logic and rules of the first movie [whilst ensuring] its link to reality and the true crime genre is never lost." (the first film was loosely based on the real life case of murdered backpacker Peter Falconio). Now, Mclean has explained that, "I'm not really interested in gore and blood and stuff. I'm interested in why Mick Taylor connected with Australian audiences. It's not about being a horror film. It's because Mick is something else, something deep and dark in the Australian psyche."
Jarratt's co-stars / victims this time include Ryan Corr and Shannon Aslyn. Wolf Creek 2 is out in Australia in February, with the rest of the world still awaiting its release dates.