Stan’s Wolf Creek
Episode 5: “Rome”
Directed by Tony Tilse
Written by Peter Gawler
* For a review of Episode 4 “Opalville”, click here.
* For a review of Episode 6 “Wolf Creek”, click here.
Only two episodes left, including this one, as Eve (Lucy Fry) heads from the Australian town of Rome. All in search of the serial killer that took her family, Mick Taylor (John Jarratt).
Out on a back road, Johnny (Jake Ryan) the convict gets picked up by some blokes in an old beater truck. In Rome, he finds himself free. Meanwhile at a bar in town is a woman with a dragon tattooed on her back. She calls herself Angie. Except she has black hair, instead of the blonde Eve used to wear. At the bar arrives a man looking for her, and for a second we almost believe it’s Mick. But just another admirer, as there are a few. At the bar Eve recognizes a man by his arms; the scars he bears. His name is Benjamin Mitchell. She’s got a police file with his wounds in it. During ’99, he arrived at the hospital with terrible injuries. He claimed to have been “held prisoner and crucified.” Wow. But definitely reeks of Mr. Taylor. Turns out the whole thing gave Benjamin the nickname Jesus. Funny, yet kind of cruel, too.
In the bush, Johnny’s tending to his rather nasty hand. He hacks the thing clean off like a hard fucking bastard. It actually blew me away. More gross than anything else we’ve seen yet, even from Mick.
And speak of the devil! He turns up at the bar where Eve a.k.a Angie works. She’s nice and disguised luckily. But immediately recognizes his voice, understandably so. She runs directly to the police, though decides against talking to them after getting looks for being dressed so sexy. So in the vehicle she goes, ready to follow him. Dangerous territory ahead, no? I’m starting to fear for Eve, rather than feel confidence in her like before. Mostly because she’s rushing off after him so brash. They almost have an encounter on the back roads, but she gets out from under him.
That is until he’s on down the road and she thinks it’s safe. He sees her take off the wig in his rifle’s scope. Oh shit.
Detective Sergeant Sullivan Hill (Dustin Clare) gets a call from Eve about having tracked down their serial killer. Things are slowly in motion. Another big part of why this mini-series works is because it combines the gruesome elements of Greg McLean’s two films with the slow burn suspense of a one hour dramatic procedural. With the cop involved, there’s that element of the law coming into play instead of the typical slasher horror trope of the law frequently being incompetent, or at least lacking.
Meanwhile, Hill and his wife still aren’t exactly on great terms, either. At the same time, duty calls. Sullivan’s not the type of man to disregard his job. He heads out to a trailer-tent city where Eve lives. Of course finding the police file she nicked on him. Otherwise they get along, as well as can be expected with her technically being guilty of murder – even though it was absolutely self defence. Simultaneously, Hill and his wife break down further with the developing relationship between him and Eve.
Then the unimaginable happens: Hill sees Mick stroll right by his car. Too good to be true? Gun raised, Sullivan gets blind sided by Mick. And things only get worse from there: “Welcome to Mick‘s world,” he proclaims heartily to the cop now bleeding at his feet.
Eve finds Ben – Jesus – at a little shack where he stays, filled with strange, unsettling drawings and little furniture. Lots of rambling from him, it’s clear the encounter he had with the man that crucified him did something awful to his mind. And you know who did that to him: the man in the blue truck. Mick fucking Taylor. All Ben really remembers, he says, is “nothing but nails.” He also warns the serial killer likes to play games; unfairly, at that.
Back at the trailer, Eve finds a horrifying gift: the clothes and badge of Dt. Sgt. Hill. Oh, god damn. Even the shot itself is ghastly, with all the neon lighting, the blood stained clothes. A truly eerie scene. Wilder still, the cop station’s been attacked, and the Sergeant on-duty has his throat cut open wide. Looks like Rome is Mick’s for a day. So Eve packs her life up to move out around the edge of town, somewhere that isn’t in the immediate vicinity. Before anything else, she gets herself a nice gun, some ammo, dog traps, all kinds of things to take care of the “vermin” giving her trouble.
This is an incredible few minutes, the overall sequence of Eve heading out to the cemetery and having her friend pass on to Mick the fact she’s staying out there. She stands guard like a sentinel, awaiting her encounter with the vicious murderer. Also, over top she narrates a letter to her father. And more trouble enters, as Ginger’s crew searches out information on the whereabouts of Eve. Add to that Johnny, who sits at the bar. So there’s an amazingly labyrinthine flow to the writing here which brings all these characters so close together.
Except there’s a lot of bad stuff headed Eve’s way at the cemetery. Although, she’s prepared. One man goes down with a dog trap, this alerts her and a gunfight flares up. I love that we’ve got this kick ass female protagonist and she’s constantly subverting our expectations about the typical slasher final girl we’d expect. Here, she fights hard and doesn’t lie down for anybody. And right before she’s about to be killed, Johnny arrives to kill Ginger. After an intense conversation he lets the man go; two fingers less.
And all the while Mick Taylor watches from out beyond reach, greasing about like a desert snake. Waiting for the perfect time to strike.
Off go Johnny and Eve, safe together. She tells him all about what Mick did to her family, making the distinction between a man like Ginger and a serial killing maniac like Taylor. Hiding out together Eve and Johnny briefly kiss, but nothing comes of it. Eve is really in a bad way. She ends up finally taking some pills. At the worst possible moment.
In the morning, she wakes up to find a finger outside in the dirt. Almost like a marker in the middle of a crater. The finger has a wedding band. Even more savage, Johnny’s body sits there bloody. Decapitated. The heat is truly on now.
Amazingly, this show gets better. Too bad it’s just one mini-series, but then again if it were to go on too long perhaps it wouldn’t be as great. However, I’m still both excited (hugely) and (so) sad one episode is left, perfectly titled “Wolf Creek”, and ready to serve as the last chapter of the series. One that hopefully will either finish off Mick, or tee us up for a Wolf Creek 3. Far as I know the plan is for the latter. Even if that’s the case I’m still interested to see how the series will finish off. No doubt with a bang, and a slice, and a load of nasty blood and guts.