Backpackers and hikers, beware the Australian outback: Mick Taylor is up to his old, sadistic tricks again after a nearly decade-long hiatus from mayhem. Wolf Creek 2 has been in the works for a couple of years now, but after making its premiere at the annual Venice Film Festival this past September, the sequel to the 2005 original - which allegedly found its basis in a "true story" - has an official AU release date as well as its first theatrical trailer. It's gonna be a bad time to go sightseeing in South Australia.
The menu this time around appears to promise more of the same, with the keyword being "more" - specifically of John Jarratt's charismatic and magnetically vile serial killer, who kicks off a new game of cat-and-mouse with Aussie actor Ryan Corr. There's a hint of additional collateral damage here, too, as hapless police officers, a German couple, kangaroos (really), and elderly folks wind up crossing paths with Mick and his prey as their bloody head-to-head commences.
None of this is necessarily bad news for fans of the first film, of course. Filmmaker Greg McLean looks to have only made minor tweaks to the winning formula of his debut (it grossed nearly $30 million globally on a reportedly low budget), emphasizing the most important parts - the culture war between Taylor and his victims du jour; the degree of havoc wreaked; and, again, Jarratt's excellent character portrayal. (If you were paying even minor attention during Django Unchained's third act, then you almost certainly caught his brief cameo as one of the Australian slavers.)
All told, this sounds like pretty great news if you dug what McLean had going on in Wolf Creek; the only real buzz-kill here is that Wolf Creek 2 has no US release date at present. That could change after February, 2014, once the film makes the rounds in its homeland - assuming it does as well with Australian audiences as its older brother - but we'll have to wait and see.
The last few years have been good for the country's horror entries; Wake in Fright, regarded by many as one of the best Australian films ever made, was restored, re-run at Cannes in 2009 and given a limited theatrical release courtesy of Drafthouse Films in 2012, while smaller releases like 100 Bloody Acres, The Loved Ones, and Snowtown have all left their own gory impressions, too. (To say nothing of Rogue, Undead, Black Sheep, and so many others.) Will Wolf Creek 2 stand up well besides the best genre fare Australia has to offer? Or should this potential franchise-to-be just remained a one-off?
Wolf Creek 2 opens in Australia on February 20th, 2014; we'll keep you posted on its US release when more info becomes available.