Wolf Creek: Special Edition [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray ALL - Australia - Via Vision
Review written by and copyright: Noor Razzak (15th September 2023).
The Film

"Wolf Creek" released in 2005, the film follows a trend of early 2000's horror films that dealt with stranger danger, kidnapping, torture porn that saw films like the "Saw" franchise (2004-2023) and "Hostel" (2005) gain in popularity. "Wolf Creek" was Australia's answer to that sub-genre, inspired by a gruesome true crime story it sees Mick Taylor (John Jarratt) an outback loner hunting wild boars for a living... but that's not enough. Mick has a gruesome desire to hunt people. Luring his prey with a wry smile and a laid back charm, once back to his remote campsite he carries out acts of unspeakable horror.

Taking the stock standard story, writer/director Greg McLean manages to elevate the film with startling performances that keep viewers on the edge at all times. John Jarratt manages to play the fine line between outback charmer and intense killer quite well, while the young backpackers AKA victims of the film played by Kestie Morassi, Cassandra Magrath, and Nathan Phillips are pretty much the fodder in which this film's furnace burns. There's plenty of screams, hushed moments of tension, and plenty of chasing as Mick brutalizes his prey from scene to scene.

The film's technical elements shine the most here, especially for a low budget Australian genre film. The cinematography by Will Gibson is well crafted, using darkness, shadow, and contrasting colors extremely well. Considering this is Gibson's first feature film as DP he did a decent job of crafting a tense and edgy atmosphere. Combined with the tight editing by Jason Ballantine took the elements shot by McLean and Gibson and helped craft a solid, well-paced film. His talents were clearly noticed because he would later move onto editing big budget films such as "The Great Gatsby" (2013), "It" (2017) and "It: Chapter Two" (2019), "The King's Man" (2021), and this past summer's "The Flash" (2023), which despite terrible box office was actually a fun film and one of the better DCEU movies.

"Wolf Creek" does fall into the same traps as other films of its kind, there are the occasional jump scare that always feels cheap, some of the cast offer serviceable but not too great performances other than the film's lead, but overall for genre fans it's worth a look and possibly worth adding to your collection.

This Imprint release includes both the original "Theatrical" version and the "Unrated" version.

Video

Presented in the film's original theatrical ratio of 1.85:1 widescreen mastered in 1080p 24/fps using AVC MPEG-4 compression. The film was shot on a digital format and for a film made 18 years ago it holds up fairly well with some flaws. The film features a documentary feel in style that evokes it's predecessors like "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" (1974), the image is grim and dark, colors look good, detail is quite fine. Some shots look a little soft, and there was some noticeable noise in some of the black levels, but overall it's a decent image and representative of its original presentation.

Audio

The "Theatrical" version of the film includes an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track, while the "Unrated" version is only in English LPCM 2.0 stereo. The 5.1 track offers a moody and engrossing experience. Dialogue is clean and clear, surround activity is well mixed, and the score helps complete the experience. The LPCM track is good but not to the same complexity of the 5.1 track, it's a shame that the "Unrated" cut didn't also include a 5.1 track. Optional subtitles are also included in English for the hearing impaired.

Extras

Imprint has delivered a fantastic array of supplements for the "Special Edition" release. The two-disc set's extras are examined below.

DISC ONE: Theatrical Version

First up is an audio commentary with writer/director Greg McLean, co-producer/executive producer Matt Hearn, and actresses Cassandra Magrath and Kestie Morassi. The participants offer some excellent insight into the making of the film and the various challenges they faced while shooting.

"The Making of Wolf Creek" is a documentary (51:51) that takes a deep dive into the production.

There are also a series of three deleted scenes (6:13)
- Ben at Store: GDay
- Kristy In Bed with Nathan
- Liz Down the Hall

A single photo gallery features the behind-the-scenes and publicity photos taken during the film's production.

There are also two theatrical trailers:
- Trailer One
- Trailer Two

DISC TWO: Unrated Version

"Meet Mick Taylor" is an interview with John Jarratt (21:49), the actor discusses the role and on working with the film's director.

"Broken and Twisted" is a music video by Auxiliary One (5:00)

Finally we have a series of storyboard and production sketch Montage (3:09)

Packaging

The two-disc set is packaged in a blu-ray case housed in a cardboard slip-case.

Overall

The Film: B+ Video: B+ Audio: A+ Extras: A+ Overall: A-

 


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