Wolf Creek The Complete First Series review

Maps of the world are deceptive – Australia is a much, much bigger country than it appears to be. And much of that country is dry, scrubby, desolate land – better known as the outback. Many people go missing in the outback every year – the majority of them stupid tourists who head out there unprepared for just how harsh and unforgiving the environment is. But every now and then, some poor silly sausage falls victim to a serial killer (notorious backpacker murderer Ivan Milat springs to mind) because out there in those millions of hectares of nothing, hiding a dead body is pretty bloody easy.

wolf creek the series 2016 blu rayIt's a great premise for a horror movie – a serial killer who roams the outback killing the occasional silly tourist (mainly clueless Poms), having a laugh and getting away with it for years and years. Aussie writer/director Greg McLean made two very successful films based on the exploits of his antihero, the psychopath Mick Taylor (John Jarratt) and now Mick gets his very own six-part TV series. But with a twist.

This time, the hero of the tale is a girl – an American teen named Eve Thorogood (Lucy Fry) who seeks revenge when, while on holiday in the Northern Territory, Mick comes along and kills her parents and younger brother. He thinks he's killed her too, but she survives. And after recovering from her wounds, Eve decides to set out and hunt down Mick ... and kill him.

Has the evil Mick Taylor finally met his match, that match being a little blonde girly? Very possibly – but to reveal what happens would, of course, be a massive spoiler. Suffice it to say, this cat-and-mouse game is a whole heap of fun. Often when a film is "reimagined" for a TV series, it's simply a rehash of what we've already seen, but that's not the case here. This Wolf Creek simply carries on from where the two films have left off, with Mick in fine, bloody murderous form virtually from the word go.

As with the two films, the cinematography is a big part of this series, revelling in the harsh beauty of the Aussie landscape. Not to take anything away from its stars, though – John Jarratt has always excelled at playing the jocular boogeyman Taylor (and if you know Jarratt's previous career, you will know that Mick is very much against type), while young Lucy Fry is a revelation. This Australian actress (yes, despite the Yankee drawl, she's a dinky-di Aussie) carries these six episodes with an ability that seems to be far beyond her tender years. Lucy makes Eve a Final Girl you can't help but cheer for (even we avowed fans of Mick) and she has a long, illustrious career ahead of her – Hollywood is sure to be after her soon. And speaking of Mick, we get a little bit of an insight into his background, and what's made him the lovable rogue that he is. But not too much – he still manages to be the nasty, brutal enigma we know and love.

Wolf Creek: The Series is a must-see for fans of the films, as well as anyone who enjoys a bit of Aussie culture. It manages to maintain a very high standard across its six episodes, and leaves you wanting more once it's over – always a good sign.

Check out our interview with Mick himself, the lovely John Jarratt

EXTRAS: The featurette Cinema to Series (5:07), about moving Mick from the big screen to the small; the featurette Making a Series (2:52); the featurette Stars (3:47); the featurette Locations (3:02); the featurette Visual Effects (3:22); and the featurette Cast (3:59).

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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