Wolf Creek


It goes without saying that I have not seen Wolf Creek. But I cannot imagine who would voluntarily subject themselves to such an ordeal. My friend, ordinarily a fearless ragamuffin, saw this film and wobbled nervously like a neurotic bowl of trifle for a fortnight afterwards. I told him to take a leaf out of my book and avoid watching films altogether. He hung his head and cried. This entry is for him.

Can the human mind conceive of a more terrifying place than the Australian outback? My human mind cannot. At night the desert heaves and throbs with cretinous activity. The lone driver humming up the outback highway is besieged from every side by twitchy dark rogues clutching towards them with horrifying fumbling claws. Imagine you are one such driver. You feel a sudden prong about your person and sense nasty little eyes looking at you, spoiling for an immoral feast. All of a sudden, you realise that you have been skewered by a rudimentary man-trap, and as you lie, pinned to your seat like a sorry racoon, you realise the truth of your situation: you are become manmeat.

The protagonists of this film are two spruce ladies from Britain, a country whose citizens frown upon cannibalism, and seek no repast grander than a simple platter of baked beans on toast, washed down with a hearty draught of blackcurrant cordial. No British menu could have prepared them for what they were to encounter in the outback. Sheer horror was to consume them in its hot maw. Savage cruelty was to make short shrift of these unfortunate English roses.

One of the protagonists, Maisy, is a case-study in lackadaisical sneezy innocence – her hayfever a metaphor for the way in which her inner goodness baulks and bridles at the ripe pollen of wickedness that fills the rotten desert atmosphere. Throughout the first half of the film, Maisy reads from ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’, often pointing out salient passages. When terror strikes and the heroes become the prey of dirty human roadweasels, we cry out for Dumbledore to swoop down on a majestic griffin and save this imperilled dreamer. But then we remember that there is no hope of magical rescue here. This is reality, albeit a warped Australian version of it.

The other protagonist is less interesting. But does she deserve to be eaten and to be menaced with gob-spikes and blood-whisks? No. Never. Horror is a deadly weapon and must only be used as a last resort. We must be very careful who we horrify with our demonic tales and potent grisly images, lest they, one terrifying day, horrify us back in return.


2 Responses to “Wolf Creek”

  1. Nobody Says:

    I think the most obvious ‘takeaway value’ of these reviews is that you should be writing what I understand are referred to in the movie-conjuring business as ‘screenplays’ instead of the unimaginative scribes who monkishly labour in the scriptoria of Burbank at the moment.

  2. johnlebaptiste Says:

    Many thanks. It’s funny you should mention screenplays. I currently have a number of projects on the go with a local auteur. He is confident that he will be able to afford to buy a video camera and learn how to use it by Christmas 2010. My phone literally has not started ringing since this mad whirlwind kicked off.

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