Having brought a touch of class to slasher movies with his debut effort Wolf Creek in 2005, director Greg McLean dumps the idea of slow, creeping dread and instead goes for gore and sadism before the credits have even fully rolled on this sequel. Mick Taylor (John Jarratt), the outback larrikin pig shooter who dismembers people for fun, this time has his wicked way with bent cops, German backpackers, and a hapless young Briton (Ryan Corr), among others. The blood runs free, heads come apart, fingers fly; a scene where Taylor runs down a platoon of kangaroos with a semi-trailer approaches iconic status as a splattering of Aussie values.
The tension is non-stop and the dialogue, fiendishly good – a lengthy ordeal during which a victim desperately tries to endear himself to Taylor is one of the wittiest torture sequences this side of Tarantino. McLean is smart enough to steal from the best: the bravura opening is a blatant riff on Once Upon a Time in the West, and what follows has more than a little in common with Steven Spielberg’s highway chase movie Duel. Mind you, the cold-hearted evil on show here will do nothing to appease detractors of the original. “I don’t know what you friggin’ tourists see in this place,” Taylor remarks – he’s talking about the rugged, wild Top End, but he could easily be talking about the barren moral landscapes of horror for its own sake.