Skip navigation

Film reviews

Wolf Creek

Title: Wolf Creek

Director: Greg McLean

Stars: John Jarratt ; Cassandra Magrath ; Andy McPhee ; Kestie Morassi ; Nathan Phillips

Reviewer: Matt Eccles

Rating (out of 10): 7


Nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, this feature debut from writer/director Greg McLean, where a young trio become stranded in the agoraphobically remote Australian Outback, plays on high-profile stories of missing and murdered backpackers both true and apocryphal alike.

The film deservedly drew comparisons with horror classic The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and, while there are marked similarities in plot, Wolf Creek's horror is even grimier and even more disturbing. Indeed, there are scenes of sadism so naturalistic that many labelled it an exploitation movie.

The build up is slow and uneventful, yet establishes an empathy with the three travellers, played adeptly by relative unknowns Cassandra Magrath, Andy McFee and Kestie Morassi. It is only after they become stranded and are helped out by seemingly chirpy local Mick Taylor that events begin to take a sinister and unflinchingly nasty turn.

Due to the film's uncompromisingly grim tone, it is more difficult to enjoy than admire. John Jarratt in particular gives a startling against-type performance that will ensure Wolf Creek's monster lives long in the psyche. Unfortunately, the ending provides what seems to be a soap opera cop-out and is therefore bizarrely incongruous, especially given the torment of the film's second half. However, despite this unfitting pay-off, Wolf Creek is rightly regarded as one of the more superior pure shockers of recent years.

Buy Wolf Creek from