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Wolf Creek (Special Edition) (Blu-ray Review)


The Film
The Video
The Audio


A group of three friends on a road trip to Australia's Wolf Creek National Park run into a psychopathic killer.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Wolf Creek is the taut Australian thriller from 2005 by director Greg McLean (Wolf Creek 2, Jungle). It follows three friends, Ben (Nathan Phillips), Lizzie (Cassandra Magrath), and Kristy (Kestie Morassi), who are really psyched for a road trip together to Wolf Creek Crater National Park for a week of hiking and surfing. Ben is very keen on the trip after realizing his feelings for Lizzie are reciprocated, so he figures they can get some alone time in the romantic setting of the park. The trip gets off to a rocky and foreboding start when the group stop at an out of the way bar and have a minor run in with some local men who want to start trouble with the women. Getting back on the road, they finally arrive at their destination and set out on what is to be an hours-long hike. They drink, they relax, they have fun, but when they make it back to their car in the dark of night, they find the car battery dead. Facing a night sleeping in the car, they are finally rescued by a stranger, Mick (John Jarratt), a wandering outdoorsman who is hired by the government to kill kangaroos. He says he can tow them back to his place and fix their car. He seems amiable enough, and they spend a night around the campfire at Mick’s place drinking and chatting casually, but when the awake, the find themselves bound, gagged, and being tortured by the very man they thought was so friendly.

The film shifts from this point from a slow-paced drama to a chaotic slasher film that borrows heavily from films like Halloween, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and even Jeepers Creepers. The gore is visceral and the fear palpable. The issue with the film is it is uneven at best and does not keep that level of tension, suspense, and thrills from start to finish. It is helped a lot by the location of the desolate landscape and the dangerous and cluttered junkyard surroundings of Mick’s abode. It is still an overall enjoyable horror, especially for the spooky season.

  • Cassandra Magrath in Wolf Creek (2005)
  • John Jarratt and Cassandra Magrath in Wolf Creek (2005)
  • John Jarratt in Wolf Creek (2005)
  • John Jarratt in Wolf Creek (2005)
  • Cassandra Magrath in Wolf Creek (2005)
  • John Jarratt in Wolf Creek (2005)
  • Wolf Creek (Special Edition) (Via Vision Entertainment)

The Video

Wolf Creek is a 2005 production that was shot in the HDCAM format on the Sony HDW-F900. This relatively early HD film production never reaches the reference level of a digital film production from today shot on, say, a Red Komodo-X, despite what sort of transfer or encodement it is given on a Blu-ray. For this Via Vision Blu-ray, the film is presented in a 1.78:1 AVC 1080p encodement that looks generally good and what one would expect from an HD production of the era. Flesh tones are pretty close to accurate although they can at times look a little too red. Contrast is middling, with some issues with white levels clipping, especially when you see sunlight shining through windows onto items or onto faces. Shadows can be a little murky and the low light levels expose digital noise and banding.

The Audio

The Theatrical Cut of Wolf Creek comes with an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix and the Uncut version gets a LPCM 2.0 stereo mix. The 5.1 mix is a step up over the 2.0 mix, adding ambience and a little more dynamic range, but the mix sounds a little thin, with little extension into the low end and not much use of the surrounds for solid effects. The 2.0 mix has good channel separation and dialogue presents well.

The Supplements

There are no new bonus features included, but the audio commentary and making of are interesting and welcome inclusions.

Bonus Features (Theatrical Cut):

  • Audio Commentary with Greg McClean, Matt Hearn, Cassandra Magrath, and Kestie Morassi
  • The Making of Wolf Creek (1080p; 00:51:51)
  • Deleted Scenes (1080p; 00:06:13):
    • Ben at Store: “G’Day”
    • Kristy in Bed with Nathan
    • Liz Down the Well
  • Photo Gallery (1080p; 00:03:41)
  • Trailer 1 (1080p; 00:02:14)
  • Trailer 2 (1080p; 00:01:45)

Bonus Features (Unrated Cut):

  • Meet Mick Taylor: An Interview with John Jarratt (1080p; 00:21:49)
  • Broken & Twisted Music Clip by Auxiliary One (1080p; 00:05:00)
  • Storyboard & Production Sketch Montage (1080p; 00:03:09)

The Final Assessment

Get out the popcorn and turn off the lights, Wolf Creek may not be perfect but its allusions to classic slasher films will sit well with genre fans.

Wolf Creek (Special Edition) is out on Blu-ray July 5, 2023 from Via Vision Entertainment.

  • Rating Certificate: Australia:R 18+
  • Studios & Distributors: Australian Film Finance Corporation (AFFC) | The South Australian Film Corporation | 403 Productions | True Crime Channel | Best FX (Boom Sound) | Emu Creek Pictures | Dimension Films | Via Vision Entertainment
  • Director: Greg McLean
  • Written By: Greg McLean
  • Run Time: 98 Mins. (Theatrical) | 104 Mins. (Uncut)
  • Street Date: 5 July 2023
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Format: AVC 1080p
  • Primary Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1 (Theatrical) | English LPCM 2.0 Stereo (Uncut)
  • Subtitles: English HOH

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A group of three friends on a road trip to Australia's Wolf Creek National Park run into a psychopathic killer.Wolf Creek (Special Edition) (Blu-ray Review)