No Rest For The Wicked
by Dan Greene
Yeah, so I took last Friday and Monday off work so that I could relax for a couple of days, and just get a nice four day weekend in for myself and my wife. Relaxing? Fuck that, I spent two days shopping for a car I’ll hardly ever drive, one day running from wasps while trying to mow the back yard (the lawnmower’s still out there), and one day shopping at the mall – and not buying the one thing I did need. All in all, my relaxing weekend turned into tired feet and way too much adrenaline.
Fuck’s sake, one of these days I’m going to get a day off and it’s going to be all about me. Getting my shit done. Doing what I want by myselfF. At this rate it’ll probably be my funeral, and I know somebody’s going to make me dress up nice for that. So I get nothing. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying my wife made me do all this stuff. we were just hanging out. She’s fucking great. It all had to get done, you know? I'm glad I had her to do it with.
Meh, what am I complaining about anyway? What a fucking baby. Birth school work death, I’m at stage three. I’m almost done. I just gotta make it through the next 40 or 50 years, and even less if I keep smoking. Like the song says, I need to cling to something. Gimme my gold watch bitches, because I might not be here tomorrow to pick it up. I guess I had a pretty good long weekend…
Ever find yourself almost wishing for illness or a migraine just so you don’t have to be at the office? Ever feel like your life is trickling away while you waste your time with bullshit day to day tasks that are less than meaningless? Ever want to put your head through the plaster and pray you find a hidden 2X4, just to get away from the gnawing erosion of your soul known as Every Day?
Yeah, me too.
But you know, everything is relative. Put my head through a wall? Sure, I’ve thought about it. Have my spine severed? Mmm, not so sure. What am I getting at here? I’m getting at the fact that, as boring or mundane as your life might be… as much as you might crave excitement in your life, sometimes things are better left alone and you are better off not getting what you asked for.
I’m kind of talking about a movie I saw last weekend, one that I mentioned in my last new post. I’m talking about Wolf Creek. This is a great movie for people who love horror movies but haven’t had much stress in their lives lately. This is a movie for people who need a little fear but don’t get scared by demons or vampires; this is a movie about things that actually happen, or could happen. And as a lot of us have said, it’s that type of movie that is the creepiest of all.
Most horror movies dwell in the realm of fantasy. As a result, they may give you a few jumps here and there, but for the most part it’s obvious fiction. If you can get scared by such things then I have a little envy of your perspective. I thought The Ring was an alright movie, but I heard more than a couple of people say that they were afraid of their televisions for a week or so after viewing it. Man, if The Ring scares you like that, then I want to live in your world, where the sun is blue, asparagus tastes good and ghostly interactions are a matter of fact. Cuz that shit don’t happen.
On the other hand, as creepy as such movies can be (if you suspend your disbelief from a meathook in the basement and leave it there for a week or so), they don’t have anything on the much shorter list of movies that are either based on fact, or are psychotically sensible enough to conceivably take place here in the world with the yellow sun.
Wolf Creek falls into the latter of the two categories, and is reminiscent of other such “it could happen” movies like The (original) Texas Chainsaw Massacre, I Spit On Your Grave, Cabin Fever and so on. But it is much more real than those other three. There are parts that are obviously fabricated here, but the movie is based on fact, on real events. Well, it is and it isn’t. It’s based on fact in the same way that TCM was (and has an atmosphere that's similar in a lot of ways). Inspired by real events but hardly a documentary. So that’s what you’re going into here. It’s not proven to be true but it could be as true as anything else you read in the paper every day. And that’s where it hits you. You read the paper, you come across some disgusting crime story about rape and torture and murder, you say eww and move on. But not here… at Wolf Creek you will be given about as much detail as you can handle.
So here’s the story; as much as I can give you without ruining the movie anyway. Three friends, two British girls and an Australian guy, hanging out and partying on vacation. The guy, Ben, has just bought a crappy car that they’re going to use for road tripping. They load up and take off for Wolf Creek, the site of one of the biggest meteorite craters on the planet (it’s actually Wolfe Creek, but, you know…). The movie takes its time here, letting you get to know the characters a little. Far from boring if you’re into that thing; I find it really helps the viewer once the dying starts. Anyway, it’s a three hour hike to the crater, three hours back, and it’s getting pretty late by the time they get back to the car. Which won’t start. And they’re in the middle of fucking nowhere.
So they’re sitting in the car, in the dark, trying to figure out what to do but eventually realizing that their only choice is to bunk down and wait for someone to come along. And the someone who comes along is a guy by the name of Mick Taylor, who seems pretty nice overall. A bit of a hick but a very friendly dude who offers to tow them back to his place where he can get their car going again. They don’t really have much of a choice so they say fuck it and take the offer.
So he hitches them up and starts driving. And driving and driving and driving. The three in the car take turns napping and talking, trying not to get nervous about being so damn helpless and ignorant and vulnerable.
And they finally, finally, get to Mick’s camp, which is an abandoned mining site. According to Mick there are places like it all over the Outback, where companies move equipment into the middle of nowhere, set up shop and just abandon it all at the end – it’s more expensive to dismantle and move the equipment than to just buy new stuff for the next job. A pretty good setup overall… They sit around the campfire for a while, shoot the shit, and the three travelers eventually go to sleep while Mick starts working on the car.
The next thing we see is one of the girls, Liz, as she regains consciousness the following afternoon. She’s tied up in a storage shed. That’s when she starts to realize her situation. And the more she learns, the less you have to chew on at the end of your fingers. And yes, oh yes, you will curse the suspense.
That’s as far into the story as I want to go right now. I don’t want to give any direction to the twists and turns in this movie. I want you to be thrown just like I was. But I will tell you that most of the requisite horror movie rules are thrown out the window, and that makes the viewer feel vulnerable too. You know that feeling you get when something bad is going to happen, and you know that it’s going to happen, but you can’t stop your heart from beating faster even though it’s only a movie? Yeah, it’s just like that except for the middle part, the one part that makes us feel in control. Who lives, who dies, who gets caught and who gets away? I’m not tellin’, but you’ll get at least one surprise there.
This movie has received mixed reviews, but both verdicts point to the graphic violence. Some people thought it was one of the most disgusting, gratuitously violent movies ever made, and hated it as a result. Others loved it for the exact same reason. And that’s just it. You either get it or you don’t. You’re not supposed to kick back and watch the story unfold; you’re supposed to be on the edge of your seat, cursing your adrenal gland while you keep watching, and then let it prod that gland a little more. How much can they take? How much can you take?
No demons, no magic, no titties, no zombie-shark throwdowns, nothing but the middle of nowhere and the same old battle between good and evil. And it’s one of the best, creepiest, skin-crawlingest movies I’ve seen in a long time. And you get to hear a spine being severed with a hunting knife… kinda sounds like a chicken wing.
Have you ever cursed suspense and tension? Have you ever watched a movie, wiping the sweat from your hands as you curse the screen for putting you through it all? Well now you know what you’re in for, and that puts you at a distinct advantage over those three kids.
I won’t even get into the ending, which is about as climactic as an ending can be while still being anticlimactic.