WOLF CREEK is a grim and disturbing horror film, based on actual events in the TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE vein. It's also beautifully shot, with director Greg McLean (in his feature film debut) making the otherworldly majesty of Australia's outback emerge as a part of the story. Cassandra Magrath and Kesti Morassi play the two young British girls traveling with their Aussie friend, Ben (Nathan Phillips), to Wolf Creek, the remote location of a giant meteor crater. When their car breaks down, a jovial, Crocodile Dundee-type named John Jarrett (Mick Taylor) offers to tow them to his even more remote auto camp. What happens next ensures, among other things, that surviving audience members will never think of Crocodile Dundee in quite the same happy way again.
In addition to McLean's painterly use of scenery in establishing mood, the film benefits from the slow, methodical buildup of character detail; the actors are given space to develop a believable rapport, something all too rare in this kind of film. The characters are people, not stock slasher-film types, and this makes the ensuing scenes of cruelty and violence all the more unbearable. Some viewers may find it all too excessive and disturbing, but there should be no doubt that this is one carefully crafted, genuinely scary horror film, and a promising start for a fresh new filmmaking talent.