I’ve watched this for the one reason that it was mentioned in a discussion about the term “torture porn” I read some days ago. “Wolf Creek” was an example of how unnessessarily violent and explicit movies have become in the last couple of years, along with the Saw series, Hostel and Feast, plus classics like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, several “Last House”s and Devil’s Rejects. Mostly good or at least acceptable movies, but except for Hostel, not one qualifies as “torture porn”.
Said discussion even had two takes on it. Sex + gore = gorno (I f’n hate that word, it makes me think of smelly cheese, not movies) aka torture porn; and gore – plot = torture porn. That’s slightly closer to my definition.
Sex + gore = sexploitation, kids. Call me old school, but Hostel did not invent that genre, or even belongs in it. Same goes for Saw. Sexploitation is defined by both senseless nudity and senseless violence, existing for the sake of provocation. There is no plot, correct, and if so, its at best a poor excuse for one. Bamboo Women’s Prison, Ilsa – She-Wolf of the SS and Barbed Wire Dolls are sexploitation classics, to a certain point also a couple of cannibal movies and the pioneer of of it all – Hershell Gordon Lewis. Nothing to do with Hostel or Saw.
Gore – plot = splatter, or fake snuff (depending on budget and intention). Its also not a new concept. Gore with no plot, that screams for the mention of Guinea Pig and its sequels, starting in 1985. A picture perfect example for fake snuff – intentionally fake, and never meant to actually be seen as real. On the other side, there are the Faces of Death series (starting even 1978) and similar productions claiming to be real snuff. “Splatter” also qualifies for many zombie invasion movies, which have all the same minimal plot (zombies come out of nowhere) to have a reason for excessive splatter scenes. The “little plot, much gore” idea dates back to 1963 and H.G. Lewis’ Blood Feast.
Seriously, no-one can tell me Saw and Hostel invented torture porn. Saw has too much plot, Hostel not enough gore. The rest of the examples falls under slasher/rape’n’revenge (definition by plot), grindhouse/splatter (definition by plot and style of storytelling) and Feast is clearly fun splatter. Sexploitation is barely meant to be funny, it oftenly is, but not intentional. I think it even kinda defies the purpose of taboo breaking visual and moral standards – how am I supposed to be shocked if I think its funny?
With all that in mind, let me come to the point. Wolf Creek. Its far from torture porn by any definition. Its also not really a slasher – not enough victims (there are 2). Its not splatter – not explicit enough (kills by knife and rifle). Its certainly not sexploitation – no nudity, and far from enough blood. Its not rape’n’revenge – no rape, no revenge. Its not grindhouse – too clean cut. Its not fun splatter – neither funny nor gory. To make it short, I have no idea what it is. The story is about 3 backpack tourists in Australia, having a broken car in the outback, getting help by an old guy, the girls getting killed and the guy escapes, and all that is based on actual events. Its a nice and interesting scenario, but sadly fails to go anywhere with it. A lot sneaking around in the dark, creeping on streets/through the outback and that’s it. But one thing is really cool. Close to the end, there are some kangaroos. No, they have nothing to do with the plot, and you only see them for a moment. But I like kangaroos, and if a movie is kinda boring I’m thankful for the little things.
Famous last words: If you try again, dear producers, – more blood, more daylight, and please – more kangaroos in the background!