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Rating History

Wolf Creek
Wolf Creek (2005)
10 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

[i]Wolf Creek[/i] is a difficult movie to evaluate. Is it enjoyable? Not particularly. Is it effective? Most definitely.

There have been two obvious trends in horror movies over the past few years. While cheesy slasher films dominated the 90s, recent horror films seem more often than not to be either remakes (and their sequels) to Japanese horror films ([i]The Ring, The Grudge[/i]) or throwbacks to the grisly films of the 70s (namely remakes [i]The Texas Chainsaw Massacre[/i] and [i]The Hills Have Eyes[/i]). [i]Wolf Creek[/i] is firmly in the latter category. A slow build-up and relentlessly savage second half are testament to that, along with a minimalist style and gritty feel throughout.

What sets [i]Wolf Creek[/i] apart is its attention to character. While the characters are by no means the most complex or thought-provoking you will ever see on film, the protagonists come across as realistic and likeable, aided by pretty decent performances from all three. The film's villain Mick Taylor is one of the most memorable in any horror movie I have seen (and certainly the most memorable without a mask), played brilliantly by John Jarratt. The first hour or so of the film is spent ominously setting up the circumstances and developing the characters, a rarity in horror films and quite a welcome change of pace.

While it takes a while for the horror to ensue, there's no missing it once it does. What follows is an unflinching and quite harrowing ordeal as the three protagonists attempt to escape the oppressive and isolated camp of Mick Taylor. There are some genuinely upsetting sequences here and an unrelenting sense of dread that few horror movies actually achieve. While there is surprisingly little gushing blood (compared to most slasher films), there are plenty of grisly scenes and plenty of moments that made me squirm a bit.

Unfortunately, some of the slasher cliches infect [i]Wolf Creek[/i] despite its best efforts to the contrary. Cars never start up when the key is first turned (the car-won't-start motif was worn out at least 25 years ago, I'm sure of it), the villain "pops up" in unlikely places and, of course, the protagonists do not take their opportunities to save themselves by finishing the bugger off. There was one moment in particular when I was literally gesturing at the screen saying "SMASH HIS F***ING HEAD IN YOU STUPID BITCH!" If my command had been obeyed (as I'm sure it could have with all the heavy car parts lying around) some lives would have been saved. This is completely unacceptable in a film striving for realistic horror (and mostly achieving it). It's particularly frustrating because, in general, the characters act quite intelligently and warily. The presence of these cliches marrs an otherwise outstanding horror onslaught in terms of sheer effectiveness.

Mention has to be made of the cinematography. For a film of relatively low budget, there is surprising crispness to the overall look. The Australian outback is showcased nicely and yet when it comes to the human scenes (horror and otherwise) a genuine feel is maintained with handheld camerawork.

[i]Wolf Creek[/i] is a good example of how horror movies really should be approached. No bimbos being slashed to bits by a cartoonish killer, no characters being killed in their first and only scene, an actual (moderately successful) strive for character development and realism and, most notably, actual horror in place of "jump" scenes and unrealistic bloodgushing. While it doesn't do everything as well as it could, most elements of [i]Wolf Creek[/i] are pretty solid, which is more than can be said for the majority of horror films of the past decade or two (there are exceptions of course). I was expecting to hate this film but I actually thought it was good. However, it was not the sort of movie I would watch just for fun due to its disturbing nature. It is sure to be a cult favourite for many years to come, and with good reason. The fact that I liked the movie despite it making me feel rather violated speaks volumes.

Cars
Cars (2006)
10 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

I had my last exam on Monday. Woohoo! On Tuesday I played a little bit of tennis and had a netball game, and on Wednesday I drove down to Hamilton (about 90 minutes south from Auckland) to stay for a few days with my friend Todd and his partner.

On Wednesday afternoon Todd and I went to the Hamilton Gardens, a main tourist attraction. It was very nice, there were lots of themed gardens (Indian and Italian Renaissance ones were the nicest) and lots of fountains and pools and things. I also found some mushrooms growing randomly. Later that afternoon Todd's partner John was home so we all went to Raglan beach which is about half an hour west from Hamilton. The west coast of New Zealand is very rugged with surf beaches and black iron sand. It was a cool place, although the fish & chips we had for dinner was remarkably greasy (even for fish & chips). On the way back from Raglan we visited a place called Bridal Veil Falls. It was quite a spectacular waterfall (55m) for a fairly unassuming stream; there seemed to be a bit of a funnel effect just before the fall. There was a walkway from the top of the fall down to the pool at the bottom. I took some photos there (I'll try and upload some soon). The walk back up was a tough one after the long day I'd had (and playing two sports the previous day), it turned my legs to jelly as it was very steep. When we got back to the house we watched "Cars" on DVD which was enjoyable, then we were all very tired so it was bed time.

On Thursday I basically had the house to myself as Todd and John were both working, so I took the opportunity to relax. I got some lunch from the shops and watched some tennis on tv and wrote a letter for my penpal.

Today (Friday) I headed back to Auckland having had a fun and pleasant little excursion (I gave Todd and John some Belgian chocolates for their trouble, and to make them fat. I'm sure they'll appreciate that).

On my way back I drove past a place called "Syntax Court". I guessed that was where people get "sentenced" for their grammar crimes. :D

The Devil Wears Prada
10 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

[left]Well, there is an assortment of movies I have watched recently. It kind of goes to show how ratings don't really tell you much, as they are all such different movies, yet I gave four of them an "8/10", and for very different reasons... although, incidentally, Emily Blunt was in both [i]My Summer of Love[/i] and [i]The Devil Wears Prada[/i], and was good in both. [i]

Corpse Bride[/i] was a nice Tim Burton film with outstanding visuals as per usual from Mr. Burton. [i]

Zoolander[/i] was funny and charming, and features one of Ben Stiller's best performances. [i]

My Summer of Love[/i] was the kind of film that just draws you in. It was very affecting and the acting was excellent.

[i]The Devil Wears Prada[/i] I saw at a promotional screening the other night, courtesy of a popular radio station (cue TXT competitions and shameless pre-movie plugs in a speech by a radio guy who talks like an ad). The movie itself was very entertaining and funny, although it did sag a bit in the middle.

[i]Finding Neverland[/i] was just a great movie. It is the kind of movie that movie fans live for. It was sad and uplifting all at once, yet completely genuine. A really unique emotional impact, I can't believe I hadn't seen it until recently.
[/left]

My Summer of Love
10 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

[left]Well, there is an assortment of movies I have watched recently. It kind of goes to show how ratings don't really tell you much, as they are all such different movies, yet I gave four of them an "8/10", and for very different reasons... although, incidentally, Emily Blunt was in both [i]My Summer of Love[/i] and [i]The Devil Wears Prada[/i], and was good in both. [i]

Corpse Bride[/i] was a nice Tim Burton film with outstanding visuals as per usual from Mr. Burton. [i]

Zoolander[/i] was funny and charming, and features one of Ben Stiller's best performances. [i]

My Summer of Love[/i] was the kind of film that just draws you in. It was very affecting and the acting was excellent.

[i]The Devil Wears Prada[/i] I saw at a promotional screening the other night, courtesy of a popular radio station (cue TXT competitions and shameless pre-movie plugs in a speech by a radio guy who talks like an ad). The movie itself was very entertaining and funny, although it did sag a bit in the middle.

[i]Finding Neverland[/i] was just a great movie. It is the kind of movie that movie fans live for. It was sad and uplifting all at once, yet completely genuine. A really unique emotional impact, I can't believe I hadn't seen it until recently.
[/left]

Zoolander
Zoolander (2001)
10 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

[left]Well, there is an assortment of movies I have watched recently. It kind of goes to show how ratings don't really tell you much, as they are all such different movies, yet I gave four of them an "8/10", and for very different reasons... although, incidentally, Emily Blunt was in both [i]My Summer of Love[/i] and [i]The Devil Wears Prada[/i], and was good in both. [i]

Corpse Bride[/i] was a nice Tim Burton film with outstanding visuals as per usual from Mr. Burton. [i]

Zoolander[/i] was funny and charming, and features one of Ben Stiller's best performances. [i]

My Summer of Love[/i] was the kind of film that just draws you in. It was very affecting and the acting was excellent.

[i]The Devil Wears Prada[/i] I saw at a promotional screening the other night, courtesy of a popular radio station (cue TXT competitions and shameless pre-movie plugs in a speech by a radio guy who talks like an ad). The movie itself was very entertaining and funny, although it did sag a bit in the middle.

[i]Finding Neverland[/i] was just a great movie. It is the kind of movie that movie fans live for. It was sad and uplifting all at once, yet completely genuine. A really unique emotional impact, I can't believe I hadn't seen it until recently.
[/left]