Three backpackers decide to have a road trip in the Australia outbacks. At some point, their car refuses to start and they are stranded in Wolf Creek. Later that night, a local approaches them and offers to repair their car. After a few hours towing in the dark Australian desert, they finally arrive at his place and fall asleep, only to wake up to their worst nightmare.
This time, no American hillbillies, it all happens in Australia. Naturally, we were a bit scared, Australian horror is often a hit or miss (and we witnessed more misses than hits). But Wolf Creek is great, it manages to replace the often goofy killer by a very creepy psychopath.
John Jaratt, well known in Australia at the time as the host of a gardening show, is a method actor and spent weeks living in the Australian desert preparing for the role of Mick Taylor. In addition he also avoided bathing before shooting so he would have a much more rugged appearance.
At one point during the shooting of the scene where Mick is torturing Kristy whilst Liz looks through the window, director Greg McLean wanted to get a shot of Cassandra’s POV, so he cleared the crew out of the shed in which the scene was being shot, leaving only the two actors inside. When he called action, they began playing the scene, however, after a minute, Mclean became convinced that Jarratt had gone too far and that Morassi’s cries for help were genuine. He burst into the shed only to find both actors stunned at the disruption. Morassi was fine – it had simply been the intensity of her performance which had fooled Mclean.
Unbeknown to the crew the abandoned mine where they chose to film had actually been the site of the real life murder of a woman. The filming prompted a protest from locals who erroneously thought the film was about those events.
A very eerie coincidence occurred for the second unit crew sent out to get footage of the Wolf Creek Crater. Since the location was many hours from any town the small crew decided to camp out in their car at the site after shooting. During the night a mysterious stranger showed up in a truck to investigate. The stranger indeed looked very much like the character of Mick Taylor, right down to the rustic truck. The stranger left, but the crew was so spooked that they drove an hour down the road before finally stopping to camp for the night. (source: IMDB)
Wolf Creek became Australia’s highest grossing R rated film with a box office achievements of $5,970,770.
I actually have a nephew who moved to Australia a few years ago… So, Thomas, if you read this, avoid the outbacks, don’t trust the locals and don’t drink their water.