Wolf Creek 2 (Blu-ray) (2013)

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Released 25-Jun-2014

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Director/Writer Greg McLean
Trailer-Nebraska; The Legend Of Hercules; The Wolf Of Wall Street.
Deleted Scenes
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2013
Running Time 103:55
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Greg McLean
Studio
Distributor
Emu Creek Pictures
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring John Jarratt
Shannon Ashlyn
Ryan Corr
Philippe Klaus
Gerard Kennedy
Ben Gerrard
Shane Connor
Annie Byron
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Johnny Klimek


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 (3254Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

“Mick's Back, With a Few Days to Kill”

     The 2005 Aussie shocker, Wolf Creek, was a tourism board’s worst nightmare. Greeting overseas backpackers with a cheery “G’day” is one thing, but then sticking them with knives or worse is definitely not in the handbook for welcoming visitors. Mick Taylor (John Jarratt) is a serial killer who combines Crocodile Dundee with Ted Bundy - on the surface a resourceful personable man with a laconic charm, but on the inside a murderous killer with no mercy and a huge chip on his shoulder. Writer/director Greg McLean has brought Mick back in Wolf Creek 2, with a similar theme and modus-operandi, but without the slow build up experienced in the original. When the traffic cops confront Mick in the opening scenes we know that things will not end well, and the fact of that becomes a reality pretty quickly. From there Mick’s prey are the usual range of overseas backpackers who are a bit naive about the great brown land they are in, and definitely too trusting when it comes to accepting help from strangers.

     After Mick deals with the obnoxious traffic cops (who nevertheless don’t deserve their fate), German campers, Katarina (Shannon Ashlyn) and Rutger (Philippe Klaus), are next in his sights. Allegedly “trespassing” in his local stomping ground of Wolfe Creek Meteorite Crater National Park, the pair is surprised at night by self-appointed warden Mick, whose initial friendliness is soon replaced by menace. Also crossing his path is Brit tourist Paul (Ryan Corr - who is presumably inspired by real character Paul Onions) amongst others, who get despatched in increasingly sick ways. Mick says he despises foreigners who mess up “his” country, but nevertheless local farmers Jack and Lil (Gerard Kennedy and Annie Byron), are treated no better despite being locals and not fitting into his demographic. I suspect that our Mick just likes killing people as sadistically as possible.

     The first Wolf Creek was half setup and half mayhem. This outing skips the introductions and gets straight to the murder. You could say that Mick needs no introduction, however in my opinion the slow build-up of the original was part of the attraction, and much like Jaws, becomes more terrifying when your predator remains unseen. Jarratt is again perfect as the psycho with menace just bubbling under the surface. He is totally believable even though his actions are gross, exaggerated and extreme. The other actors are good enough although really only serve as fodder for Mick, and don’t really get an opportunity to distinguish themselves. On the other hand I found the scene with Jack and Lil (couldn't they have thought up some better names?) a bit incongruous, as to me it didn’t fit into the general theme of events.

     This outing is definitely a case of more is better as the bodies start to accumulate and the methods of despatch become more cruel and convoluted. The descent into gore-porn is obvious and calculated. Apart from that aspect, everything is bigger with more expansive sets, better special effects and extensive stunt work. Presumably if there is a Wolf Creek 3 (and I suspect there will be), the writers will have to up the ante even more to stand out from the crowd. I’m not so certain whether this is a good thing or not, because to me the original “charm” of Wolf Creek has been replaced with a generic stew of contemporary films that are themed around torture and gore. Nevertheless Wolf Creek 2 is an exciting ride in the Australian outback with a character that could become a classic if he’s not already.

     The opening credits infer that the script is based on true events, however you can rest assured that the writers are playing with the truth and have based the Taylor character on two killers, Ivan Milat and Bradley Murdoch, who are both well and truly in gaol and probably never to be released. Although they were both crazed killers, Mick leaves them in his wake as far as inventiveness is concerned.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Video is presented in the theatrical aspect of 2.35:1. The bigger budget is obvious here with cinematographer Toby Oliver capturing the Australian outback with high quality Arri Alexa cameras and smaller (and expendable) Go-pros for some of the stunts. The image is razor sharp with every nook and crag in fine relief on Mick’s face, and with the outdoor scenery in glorious but natural detail. Colour is also exceptional, being bright and vivid when required, or conversely dull and grim. Blacks and grey are well defined leaving outlines and details in night shots easily visible. I detected no artefacts and the generous bitrate on a dual layer BD resulted in no compression issues.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio options are the default 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio at around 3300 Kb/s with a Dolby Digital at 224 Kb/s commentary and descriptive audio tracks. Similarly to the video this audio presentation is first class with crystal clear dialogue and a clean, clear surround mix. The bass is used well for scenes such as rifle cracks, horse hooves and the truck chase, with surround effects also evident in a lot of the action. The angle grinder scene in particular showcases the effectiveness of the LFE and surround tracks as mixed into the soundscape. More subtle uses of the surrounds are evident in the outback scenes with tinkling water and dusty winds all portrayed with equal effect. The score by Johnny Klimek is effective, albeit a bit clichéd, and the inclusion of well-chosen popular songs is welcomed. Synchronisation is 100% accurate. In summary this is brilliant showcase for high definition audio with absolutely no criticisms warranted.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

     The menu featured looping audio with animated background.

Movie Trailers (appearing before the main menu)

     All HD video and Dolby Digital audio at 192 Kb/s. Nebraska (1:59), The Legend Of Hercules (2:11), The Wolf Of Wall Street (2:25).

Audio Commentary

     With Director/Writer Greg McLean. McLean describes how Wolf Creek 2 differs from the original and notes the influences from other movies which went into this sequel including the concept of chance and destiny. This commentary is interesting enough although McLean is not the most eloquent of speakers. To his credit though he goes beyond describing the action and provides a lot of ancillary information on, for example, reasons for certain scenes, their inspiration, and how they were developed.

Deleted Scenes

     HD Video 2.35:1 with DTS HD Master Audio 2.0 at around 920 Kb/s or Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224 Kb/s. Backpacker Hostel (4:07); German’s Campsite (2:49); Sacred Canyon Waterhole (4:08); Colonial Cemetery (1:35); Meeting Paul Hammersmith (1:44); Rabbit Truck Chase (0:26); Paul Finds Jack and Lil (3:47); Paul At Dinner (1:15). Note that there is no play-all function.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     There is a local version available labelled as a Director's cut with an R rating, two minutes of additional footage and an additional extra - Creating a Monster: The Making of Wolf Creek 2 which at 52 minutes long should be an interesting addition. Region A also has the documentary but does not have the extra footage or Director's commentary. There is a Blu-ray/DVD combo package available. The version reviewed is MA rated and only includes the commentary track. Region A also has different trailers and language options. The Director's cut local version is the clear winner in this comparison.

Summary

     Wolf Creek 2 is bigger and badder that the original, but to me has lost a bit of the “charm”. Suspense is replaced with gore, and anticipation is short but sharp. To many viewers these changes would appeal, but there are lots of similar films out there and Wolf Creek 2 just becomes another title in that genre. Jarratt carries this movie so his performance itself is reason enough to watch it.

     The video quality is excellent.

     The audio quality is excellent.

     Extras are ok but the addition of the documentary would have been most welcome.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Mike B (read my bio)
Friday, August 08, 2014
Review Equipment
DVDCambridge Audio 751bd, using HDMI output
DisplayPanasonic TH-58PZ850A. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
Amplificationdenon AVR-4311 pre-out to Elektra Theatron 7 channel amp
SpeakersB&W LCR600 centre and 603s3 mains, Niles in ceiling surrounds, SVS PC-Ultra Sub, Definitive Technology Supercube II Sub

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