Stan’s Wolf Creek
Season 2, Episode 6: “Return”
Directed by Geoff Bennett
Written by Mark Dapin & Greg Haddrick
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Shelter” – click here
While Becca (Tess Haubrich) and Brian (Matt Day) head for Mick’s (John Jarratt) place out near Wolf Creek, they’ve got no idea he’s killed Oskar, and he has wounded Nina (Felicity Price) with him in the truck. Along the way the serial killer has to stop, which is why the wife does all she can to try defending herself, up to and including hauling the hunting knife from her dead husband’s neck. This doesn’t get a lot done before Mick knocks her out, then drives off into the dark.
Becca and Brian get to Mick’s Outback hideaway. They find some of Danny’s (Charlie Calusen) belongings). We also see some of the old locations from the original Wolf Creek, so I love that, without having to rehash old characters, there’s history brought back from the beginnings of the franchise.
The pair head down into the tunnels below through a grate with a ladder. Further in the caves they hear faint noises. Brian tells Becca not to go, but she does anyway. The deeper they go, the worse the smell. Becca finds several people hung from chains, bloodied, brutalised, like sides of animal meat hanging after a kill and a clean.
As expected, Mick eventually returns, and Brian discovers his remaining fellow tourists aren’t coming. The lord of the manor has come home with a new plaything. In the tunnels below, Becca finds a caged area, wondering if Danny’s someplace inside. Not far behind them is Mick, taking Nina to their next cruel destination.
So tense watching Becca while that nasty killer’s returning. He knows the Outback incredibly well; he knows his lair even better. An amazingly directed sequence that moves us between the various view points, as Mick hears something in the tunnels, and Brian gets out of the shed in which he was locked. Everybody’s just barely a step off from one another, a great, suspenseful bunch of moments building up here.
We also see that Brian’s becoming more cruel himself. He’s starting to look out solely for Brian, nobody else. Lot of good that does Becca, especially when she’s stepped on a trap in that underground lair. And her predator’s voice echoing through the shadowy tunnels.
“Be careful where you‘re steppin‘, girly.”
Mick lets his dog loose after Becca. Meanwhile, Brian is preparing to leave everyone behind like a real piece of shit. Soon, behind another caged door, Becca finds her badly beaten husband, as well as Kelly (Laura Wheelwright). On the floor is a butchered Johnny. Now we’ve got two bad ass women together, left to face that maniac.
When Mick catches Brian leaving, they have a little heart to heart. The psychiatrist reels off a bunch of “antisocial personality disorder” diatribe. Yeah, that’ll work on a guy like him. Good job, you fucking mentalist. He dares to bring up possible abuse by Mick’s dad. Holy fuck. Read the room, Brian! Regardless, he offers to leave and never come back for the others. Cold as ice. A deal’s struck between them.
The dog gets shot, so Mick heads off to check on the other three. There are no bullets left in the gun now. Becca, Danny, and Kelly have to find a way out. They hide under some corpses in the tunnels until their stalker passes. Danny says he can’t move fast enough, so Becca tells Kelly to go on ahead of them, to escape.
Mick finally finds Becca and Danny, taunting not far behind. Brian also has to go back into the tunnels for the keys to the other truck, but NIna has them, and she fights him. He lets her finally die from the snake bite when she won’t give them over. Only it’s not as quick as he’d like, so he strangles her, too. Kelly finds him, cracking him with the gun. Doesn’t matter, Nina dies.
Then everyone is back together again, Mick along with them. Brian is allowed to go, though. The betrayal’s all out in the open. “You‘re all just bait,” the psychiatrist yells at them. However, he’s not a psychiatrist, he’s a criminal, that’s why he understands them so perfectly. A scary man in his own right.
Brian ain’t long for this world. He gets his face blown off for being full of hubris. Afterwards, a fight breaks out, Becca fights Mick, but he throws her and Danny in behind the cage, intent on chasing after Kelly. Off he goes, leaving them again in a precarious situation. Like usual. Might be only one way out: light the whole place on fire.
An explosion rips up out of the hole from the tunnels. Kelly looks for ammo, she finds an iPhone. As she runs an explosion knocks her off her feet, several more nearly take her out. But she keeps going, and Mick’s home erupts in fire, exploding all over the place.
Out on the plains of the Outback, Kelly wanders, half in shock. Mick finds her in his truck. He advises she’ll die if she tries walking to the next town. She’d rather walk to her death than stick around with him. He lets her head off, expecting she will perish.
On TVs around Australia news reporters are discussing the mystery of the vanished tour bus, all those tourists. In the meantime, ole Mick drinks, hanging out where he wants, feeling no heat for all his hideous crimes. That signature, horrific laugh of his still vibrant, still kicking.
No happy endings here. No, not by a long shot.
I love that Wolf Creek didn’t go for a tidy ending. The first season worked in that sense. This season didn’t head towards an end that was going to be perfect, not in the way of a victim getting loose. No doubt in my mind Kelly doesn’t survive. She just walks traumatised and wounded into the sun, never seen again. And Mick just keeps on keeping on.
We do see Kelly stumble to a place where her cellphone gets service again. But will she last? Could she even lead people to Mick if they found her before she dies out there? I’m not so sure.
So, we’ll have to see what Mr. McLean has in store for us with Wolf Creek 3. Ought to be quite terrifying, no? Loved Season 2, even more than Season 2. This is a great modern horror franchise that, for me, always delivers.