Why WOLF CREEK 2 is What's Wrong with Horror1/10
Just last month, Stephen King wrote the following on his Twitter page: "Horror is when you know and love the characters, but you also know something very bad is going to happen to them. It's not the monsters!" And you see his point: In order to make horror films truly scary, we must feel afraid for the characters because we truly care for them. We want them to make it out alive. We want them to succeed. This isn't only exclusive to horror films. It applies to every film. If we don't care for the characters, why should we care about the story? What WOLF CREEK 2 and most horror films get wrong is how they couldn't care less for its characters.
In WOLF CREEK 2, director Greg Mclean is all for the monster, and this is unfortunate because the monster isn't the hero of the story. He's just a evil figure lurking in the shadows ready to kill anyone that comes his way with some one-liners to shout throughout the film. He has no depth, no layers and neither do the protagonists, which makes it hard to sit through the film feeling anything but anger. All you're left with are set pieces with gore and gratuitous violence thrown on screen, but you don't feel anything because you just don't care.
This is what separates good recent horror films like OCULUS and THE CONJURING from WOLF CREEK 2. And it's not to say Mclean isn't capable of making quality horror films. After all, he directed ROGUE, a monster flick that actually focuses on its characters and not the monster itself. It is no surprise to learn, then, that ROGUE is enjoyed more considerably than Mclean's WOLF CREEK films (ROGUE currently stands at a rare 100% on RottenTomatoes). Mclean attempts to flesh out the monster in WOLF CREEK 2, but he spends just 5 minutes to establish that Mick Taylor is a bigot and then continuously pounds the audience in the head about this fact through the rest of the film.
As for the protagonists themselves, it doesn't get any better. They are useless, clueless, and uninteresting. I'm sorry, but in this day and age, giving the characters a significant other just doesn't cut it, even when they're heard off screen. More characters appear as the film goes along, but we quickly find out they're there to die a few minutes later, often in gruesome and unpleasant ways. And don't get me started on the female characters. Are we still in the era where all they do is stay on the sidelines and scream helplessly? Aren't we passed that? Or a better question might be SHOULDN'T we be passed that? Regardless, the characters should have been handled better, but it's clear the director was more interested in building a legacy for Mick Taylor to stand beside the likes of Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, and Michael Myers than creating real, sympathetic characters to root for.
I despised this film. I despised the senseless violence, the two dimensional characters, and the villain. WOLF CREEK 2 is a perfectly packaged product of what's wrong with modern horror films. It's a string of bloody set pieces barely held together by a script (if that). It's not even fun to sit through in a so-bad-it's-good kind of way. Well, maybe except for the scene involving CGI kangaroos. However, if you're the type of person who wants to cheer for the monster, then so be it. I just wished director Greg Mclean would make more films like ROGUE than continuing to build his WOLF CREEK franchise.