Wolf Creek Greg McLean

Wolf Creek Greg McLean
This year, without a doubt, was a terrible and, unfortunately, not very terrifying time for the horror genre. Compared to the fruitful past couple of years, 2005 produced so few horror films you can count the good ones on one hand, with a couple fingers left over.

Thankfully, independent films are giving fans the best, most original work, as the majors continue to peddle bad remake after bad remake. So, I am proud to announce that 2005 will go out on a high note thanks to Greg McLean's Wolf Creek, the year's best horror flick, hands down.

Sadly, the film was inspired by two real life murders in the Australian outback, a genesis that has raised a red card or two in protest. However, McLean — who wrote the script — has gone to respectable lengths to mix up the stories, combining both events into one and changing the names of the characters to a degree that deserves some credit.

The story follows two British women — Liz and Kristy — and an Aussie man — Ben — who go on a road trip to Wolf Creek (a real location named "Wolfe Creek"), where a giant meteor once hit and left an enormous crater. After a daylong hike, the trio return to their car to find it mysteriously dead. Enter a creepy, Crocodile Dundee-like character with a terrifying secret (hint: he collects backpackers) who lends a hand and we have a chilling tale of kill or be killed on our hands.

Wolf Creek utilises the vast, empty atmosphere of the outback, which is the perfect setting for a horror film given the foreign boundaries and intense isolation the characters feel being stranded in such an unfamiliar and remote environment. McLean has given us a movie that doesn't feel like we're watching a true story, per se, but is so real in its gritty, low-budget look that we know the terror the victims experience isn't impossible given the right desolate area and demented field ranger. He doesn't provide the viewer with any type of foreseeable conclusion or even hints — a problem that often spoils horror films these days — and it isn't until the last three minutes that you discover whether anyone gets out alive, including the killer.

With a factual authenticity that evokes the same kind of realistic chill as The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Wolf Creek is one of the best horror movies in recent years. However, I'm sure the Australian tourism board rep responsible for the outback's PR will have a difference of opinion and a tougher job in the coming days. (Alliance Atlantis)