Tuesday, September 13, 2016

WOLF CREEK The Series! (Review)

The hunter becomes the the hunted in the new six episode, limited TV series of Wolf Creek. Does that sound weird? It does a little given the underground nature of the first two installments in the franchise. Wolf Creek has its own TV series on Pop. Upon hearing the news of its upcoming premier I have to say my internal hype machines started going into overdrive. Both the original movie and sequel were a ton of fun with some serious violence, a witty, humorous killer who has become a cult fan favorite anti-villain. Wolf Creek was one of the movies to help usher in the torture porn era of Horror in the mid 2000's, and while some look at that term and the movies that came out of that movement in the negative, I look at it as a chance to enjoy ultra violent kills and lots of them in novel ways. Wolf Creek as a franchise has given us a killer worth rooting for who we can also fear who has made the Outback a completely terrifying place to be stranded (if Crocodile Dundee didn't do that already). So how does the new series measure up to the two films that are its predecessors?

Wolf Creek as a show plays out quite a bit like the movies at first. We follow Mick Taylor, a role reprised by John Jarratt, through a series of short killing sprees with laughs as unsuspecting victims are brutally attacked. The real change from a plot perspective from  the movies is the addition of a survivor who turns hunter attempting to gain revenge against Mick after witnessing the brutal murder of her family while on holiday. I have no problem with our new heroine. While Lucy Fry gives a solid performance the character is somewhat forgettable, just another potential victim who turns out to be exceptionally agile. That doesn't exactly matter though because in Wolf Creek, the victims are not the focal point and even with the addition of the revenge plot, we know who we want to see win the day. We want Mick, and we get him though perhaps not enough for my personal taste. The story is as effective as the previous two incarnations in the franchise and keeping Jarratt in the lead role was ever so important to the success of the franchise. He's great. You'll love him as you've loved and feared him before.

That's not to say all is well with the new series. Unfortunately Wolf Creek has a major flaw. The blood and violence is computer generated. For a series that was founded on its awe inspiring shock brutality, the series lets us down big time. It's not that Mick kills less. It's that we are forced to endure poorly executed computer animated kills. The blood spurts are computerized. The body holes... computerized. We're not talking about complex Walking Dead kills that require CG to create the illusion of reality due to budgetary restraints. I'm sure that a limited budget is why the kills include as much computerized grue as they do, but for what I see on screen, the CG simply wasn't necessary and takes away from the power of the show. Why are we killing off screen or hiding our mayhem for a movie that DEMANDS IT?

The opening scene of the first episode sets the precedent of using non-practical techniques for kills, and I'm afraid the effects never get any better. That's not to say that Jarratt doesn't give a solid performance or that the show isn't watchable. The story and performances are fine. I simply wish we had more gushing to gush over. Hell, I'd even accept CG if the kills demanded them ie giant trucks smashing through packs of kangaroos.

I urge you to give Wolf Creek a try this October, and my sincerest hope is that we could get another season, this time with more practically created effects that offer the fans what the original entry in the franchise promised. The show is all head. No stick.

Make sure to check out the trailer HERE.

From Pop, Lionsgate and Zodiac Rights:

Inspired by the Iconic Cult Film and Executive Produced by its
Creator/Director Greg McLean, WOLF CREEK Premieres on Friday, October 14 at
10:00 PM, ET/PT as a Six-Episode Limited Series Television Event

Inspired by one of the most terrifying, cult movie franchises ever released in theaters, named one of “The 25 best horror movies since 2000” (AV Squad), one of “The 100 Best Horror films” (Time Out), and one of “The 25 Best Horror Movies Since The Shining” (Vulture), the six-part television event, WOLF CREEK, is a psychological thriller premiering exclusively on Pop on Friday, October 14 at 10:00 PM, ET/PT.

In conjunction with Lionsgate Television and Zodiak Rights (a Banijay Group company), the WOLF CREEK television series on Pop stars John Jarratt, who reprises his movie role as the murdering psychopath Mick Taylor, wreaking havoc in the Australian Outback—except this time, things are different. The television series immediately turns the entire genre on its head when a 19-year-old American college student, played by rising star Lucy Fry, survives the massacre of her parents and little brother and sets out to hunt down the killer and avenge her family.

Based on true events, the original WOLF CREEK movie was introduced in 2005 at the Sundance and Cannes Film Festivals before achieving global box office success and cult film status among horror fans around the world.

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