Plotline: A group of three friends decides to take a backpacking trip into the Australian outback. Upon their return from a hike into the Wolf Creek crater, they find that their car won't start. Things continue to get worse from there.
Scariness factor: This was one of the most realistic horror flicks I've seen in a while. It was gritty. The characters reacted to their bizarre situation in ways that seemed honest and convincing. Minus a couple stupid moments where the movie slipped into making mistakes that horror movies always tend to make (one of the main characters who is trying to desperately escape her captor takes a gratuitously long time to view not just ONE videocamera's footage but TWO), the movie really felt real. And it's this realism that made it horrifyingly scary at times--not jump in your seat scary, not slasher film scary, but scary in the sense that it effectively captures what it must feel like to be in the grips of an insanely scary person intent on torturing and killing you just for fun.
Gross-Out Factor: High high high. The crux of this movie rests on the brutal torture of three hikers, so there is much blood and much brutality, all of it horrifyingly realistic. Not for the squeamish.
Complaints: The movie did such a nice job capturing seemingly realistic responses to an extremely horrifying situation until, of course, the video camera scene. Why horror filmmakers insist on setting up stupid unconvincing situations just to fill us in on back-story is beyond me. My biggest biggest complaint, however, is the ending. I have never seen such a completely abrupt ending, particularly in a horror film. The end of Jeepers Creepers probably comes the closest, but I was far more disappointed with the end of Wolf Creek, mainly because it really kept me going and creeped me out up until this point. And then suddenly: *POOF* the end. It felt as though the filmmakers suddenly realized that they never wrote an end to the thing, and were trying to snap their fingers next to our heads so as to distract us from this fact. Damn them.
High Points: This movie has some surprisingly beautiful visual moments, of Australian landscape, of light playing against darkness. It was definitely a visually impressive movie, particularly for a horror film. The acting is also quite good, especially for a horror flick. All three main characters are very good at casually playing victims. And the villain was most impressive as well, his performance terrifying throughout. Its realism was also a definite high point. It is gritty and terrifying, despite having such a shitty ending.
Overall: I'd recommend seeing it simply because the majority of the movie is quite well-done. Just prepare yourself to be disappointed in the end.
Grade: C (taking the shitty ending into account)/A (up until the shitty ending)