Wolf Creek 2 and the Australian Outback

Each year, one Australian film manages to jump out from the under-funded, under-promoted pack. In some cases, this film might even turn a profit. Last year, The Great Gatsby (technically Australian due to government funding and Baz Lurhmann’s directorship) took the mantle. The year before that, The Sapphires enchanted local audiences and also made some inroads overseas.

In 2014, there’s an early front-runner: Wolf Creek 2.

wolf-creek-posterEight years after Mick Taylor made his debut, he remains etched in the memories of all those who saw Wolf Creek. If the character was the primary focus on the viewer’s attention in the film, then the harsh Australian outback certainly came second.

All too often tourists stick to Australian cities, seeking out the Oprah (sorry, Opera) House in Sydney, and the pleasure of the small bar scene in Melbourne. Wolf Creek and its sequel give viewers access to the harsh, desert-like expanses that dominate Australia’s centre and west.

Part of the original Wolf Creek is set in a national park in desolate Western Australia. The dominant browns and oranges of the park aren’t necessarily indicative of the sorts of scenes Tourism Australia would usually promote. On the east coast, for example, national parks are filled with lush flora and pretty cafes. We’re quite used to seeing such scenes in commercials and marketing materials. A plain dominated by dust and a gun-wielding murderer? Not so much.

For this reason, Wolf Creek and its sequel can prove educational for Eastern Seaboarders as well as overseas viewers. Both releases were filmed across regional Australia – a huge chunk of the country only the most intrepid tourists normally venture to. It’s possible that the film could draw more tourists to the area, but the whole “backpackers killed by crazed hunter” thing doesn’t exactly ensure that.

It might be lacking in the razzle dazzle of some of our recent, successful film exports, but Wolf Creek 2 presents audiences with a tantalising view of Australia. So much so that some  – comedian Ben Pobjie among them – believe that a certain masochistic sub-market of tourists could be drawn to Australia off the back of the bloody film and its dusty, dangerous setting.

Mick Taylor’s first outing generated almost $30 million in box office receipts. Whether Wolf Creek 2, released today, will draw similar numbers remains to be seen. What we can be sure of is that the film will involve plenty of dust, desert and danger.

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