Wolf Creek 2
“I Fall to Pieces”
by Glenn Lovell
With apologies to Nicole Kidman and Crocodile Dundee, Australia’s new No. 1 export is Mick Taylor, the ruddy-faced psycho with the muttonchops and maniacal snort-laugh.
Taylor is to the outback what Jason Voorhees is to Camp Crystal Lake and Freddy Krueger is to every teen’s troubled dreams: He preys on young tourists dumb enough to thumb their way across Australia’s desolate northwest and then pitch a tent in the middle of nowhere.
In “Wolf Creek,” the 2005 indie hit from Down Under, Taylor, as played by John Jarratt, reeled in three gullible backpackers and, utilizing the catch-release-and-catch method, tormented two of the three to death. Greg McLean’s long overdue “Wolf Creek 2,” now available on VOD, picks up where the earlier crime saga left off ‒ in mid-slaughter.
The years, it seems, haven’t caused the ol’ bushwhacker to mellow. If anything, Taylor is even more demented: He sees himself as an avenging angel whose mission it is to cleanse the outback of “foreign vermin,” such as the German lovebirds camping in Wolf Creek National Park.
Like Tobe Hooper when he got around to “Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2,” McLean didn’t rush into the sequel; he didn’t want to deliver a hack-and-slash redo of the original. Like “TCM 2,” this continuation is funnier, gorier ‒ and a whole lot less suspenseful. It allows the cagey Jarratt, last glimpsed in “Django Unchained,” to chew serious scenery in what is essentially a full-on comic performance. His Taylor hums “Waltzing Matilda” as he makes short work of a pair of dimwit highway patrolmen, and he plays Patsy Cline’s “I Fall to Pieces” as he chops up his latest backpacker.
Other bizarre comic touches include an elderly couple almost as wacko as Taylor and a grisly take on 10 Questions, wherein a wrong answer costs the contestant another digit.
“Wolf Creek 2” isn’t scary enough to warrant a spot in the horror pantheon, but, thanks to McLean and Jarratt, it doesn’t want for energy … or, for that matter, the s-s-splat of kangaroos on a 16-wheeler’s grill.
WOLF CREEK 2 1/2 With John Jarratt, Ryan Corr, Shannon Ashlyn, Phillippe Klaus. Directed by Greg McLean; scripted by McLean, Aaron Stern. 106 min. Unrated (would be hard R for graphic violence, mutilations)