Wolf Creek

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So this week was the premiere of the new slasher series, Wolf Creek, which is based on the movie Wolf Creek, from 2005. It airs on the Pop Channel and is based on the true story behind the Backpack Murders that took place in New South Wales, during the 90’s. The actual killer is now serving  7 consecutive life terms.The show is filmed in Australia with a largely Australian and native supporting cast.

I’m not a fan of serial killer movies, or shows , but I decided to review this because I was curious.  This is one of my Mom’s favorite movies, even though she’s not a huge fan of serial killer movies, either. I’d watched the movie (and didn’t care for it), and wondered how the creators would turn that movie into a six part mini-series, without falling into the trap of making six hours of torture porn. I feel like the show is off to a promising start. I don’t have plans to watch the entire run, but I am intrigued, and I might.

This is largely due to the young actress who plays Eve. Eve is a former gymnast, who is on vacation with her family, after having gone through rehab for addiction to pain killers. The relationship between Eve and her father is a tense one, as he’s dealing with a lot of anger regarding her addiction, (warning for some amount of emotional abuse) but all of this doesn’t get much play because her entire family, (Mom, Dad, little brother) are murdered in the first ten minutes, before the opening credits, by Mick Taylor, who is played by John Jarratt, the actor from the film.

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When her younger brother gets attacked by an animal, Mick shoots it, and decides to hang with Eve’s family for the rest of the evening. He is a crude, but jovial man, who cracks jokes about murdering people, right before he murders people. When he makes a crude joke about Eve being on her period, she goes into the RV to listen to music and can’t hear her family being slaughtered, just outside.  I thought the murder of Eve’s family would play out a lot longer ,as we got to know them, but that doesn’t appear to be the show’s focus. You know its going to happen but Mick attacks them so suddenly that it still manages to be a surprise.

He shoots Eve too but she manages to survive. Now suffering from her wounds, and survivor’s guilt, she has dedicated herself to tracking down the man who killed her family. I found this intriguing because I went into this with a certain set of expectations, and the show managed to upturn those, from time to time. I thought for certain Eve would be blamed for the death of her family, and while the idea is brought up, its also quickly shot down.

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I also thought Eve’s  story wouldn’t be believed, but Sullivan Hill is the one cop in Australia who believes her, having kept track of several of Mick’s murders for some time. Sullivan is played by Dustin Clare and you may remember him from Strikeback and Spartacus. I don’t but then I consider Sullivan to be a rather bland character.

It’s obvious that all the character focus  is going to be on Eve, as Sullivan doesn’t make much of an impression, beyond being blandly handsome. No there is no sexual tension set up between these two, at least not on Eve’s part, although I think Sullivan is intrigued. Understanding what she is about to do after she steals one of his casefiles, he sets off in pursuit of the strongheaded girl.

I did ask myself what the Hell it is that Eve thinks she’s going to do when she catches up to Mick, but I’m not too worried about that now. She’s been shown to have some amount of grit and backbone, and the rest of the season will consist of a cat and mouse game being played between her and Mick.

I like that the show is  so female-centric. The story is entirely focused on Eve, and her point of view, so there’s an element of that “Final Girl” quality that I always thought was an interesting trope for such films. We spend very little time in Mick’s presence which is probably a good thing. He thinks he’s hilarious but the show never presents him as comedy relief, even if you laugh at some of the things he says. His good humor only serves to make him more terrifying, as he greatly enjoys killing, and is just doing all this for fun. There’s only so much of that type of mindset you want to be exposed to. (There’s even a Crocodile Dundee joke thrown in.) Both he and Eve appear to be about equal in intelligence and drive, so Eve winning this contest of wills is not necessarily a foregone conclusion.

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Despite all these things to recommend it, I would advise caution for those who are more sensitive. The show is exceptionally gory. At least for the first ten minutes, it does not stint in showing Mick killing Eve’s family, and  shows him shooting a child. So you may be happier skipping the first few minutes, after which the show calms down somewhat (but its still very bloody.)

I may actually watch next week’s episode which airs on Friday. It looks like a good substitute for The Exorcist, which is beginning to drag.

Watching : Cleverman – Season One Pilot

Watching : Cleverman – Season One Pilot

I know not all of my readers have cable, so I like to cover shows that not very many  people are reviewing, because hey! if the show lasts long enough, it will end up on DVD, or Netflix. Hopefully, these reviews and recaps will come back to you when making a decision on whether or not to buy them. So far the Sundance Channel has been alright about showing diverse programming. The last show I…

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Watching : Cleverman – Season One Pilot

I know not all of my readers have cable, so I like to cover shows that not very many  people are reviewing, because hey! if the show lasts long enough, it will end up on DVD, or Netflix. Hopefully, these reviews and recaps will come back to you when making a decision on whether or not to buy them.

So far the Sundance Channel has been alright about showing diverse programming. The last show I watched on Sundance was Red Road, with a nearly all indigenous cast, along with Jason Momoa. It was a pretty intense crime drama, which I actually started to enjoy. I think it’s on hiatus right now.


Cleverman is another intense drama, but mixed with fantasy. It’s  American and Australian/ New Zealand based show, airing in Australia as well as here, and covers the topics of immigration and diversity, injustice and rebellion, but with superpowers and monsters. It sits well within my personal theory that non-western cultures probably would not be greatly upheaved by the introduction of superheroes, as those cultures already have mechanisms and narratives in place that would account for their existence. What in western cultures would cause people to freak out, in native cultures, will sometimes be fully explained and accepted with a shrug, or whatthehell! a party.

For information on the indigenous beliefs and cultures that led to the creation of Cleverman, visit here. Also listed are characters, books, and resources, for those interested in the intersection of Australian Aboriginal culture, religious beliefs,  and superheroes. It’s fascinating stuff.


and here:



Click to access 419.pdf

As for the show. It’s not bad. The production values are lovely. It may have been made on the cheap, but it doesn’t show it. As far as the plot, it’s a little different than I thought it would be. It can sometimes be difficult to watch because of a lot of the events seems to have a great deal of resonance with what’s going on in the US right now, except that it’s happening to Australian natives, whose names, though lovely,  I’m not even going to try to pronounce. I listened really hard, but my linguistic skills were not up to the task.


Most of the violence seemed to involve a group of people called Hairies, and that’s the last time I’m going to use that word, because most of the characters used it as a slur, even though it’s merely descriptive. The people they’re talking about look kind of like old school werewolves. To my eyes, they were not unhandsome. Well ,anyway they’re being rounded up and put on reservations with the native Aboriginal peoples, who have been tasked to make room for them. They don’t like it but have little choice.


One  of the more tragic scenes is the shooting death of a little girl by the police, who were attempting to separate her from her mother. Why these families were being separated was unclear to me. The takeaway I got was that it was either for crueltie’s sake, or so the men and boys could be experimented on.The Hs are faster, and stronger than humans, and the villainous white dudes, who run the government, were studying this, at one point.

It’s really difficult, given the political climate of the US right now, for me to watch people being abused just for looking different, so that was where the difficulty comes in. Apparently, some of the Hairypeople choose to fit in by shaving off their hair and learning English, and others decide to go ” au naturel”,and live how they want. They also have metaphysical abilities too and are based on creatures from Aboriginal mythology. They are distinctly non-human. They do not share DNA with humans, and it’s theorized that they’re a race of people who come from the Dreamtime. They also live waaaay longer than humans.

When the government starts stepping up its cruelty levels, Koen’s uncle tries to persuade him to take on the mantle of the Cleverman. A kind of superpowered vigilante who shows up when his people are in  distress. The uncle passes this calling onto the non-consenting Koen, who develops the ability to see the past and future, and heal himself like Wolverine. He may develop other abilities later in the series. This all has something to do with monsters from the Dreamtime invading earth, but that hasn’t been made clear yet, since this is  just the pilot.


There’s also some criminal shenanigans involving a neighborhood leader who seems to be in league with members of the government, while preaching rebellion, and holding illegal fight clubs. I was less interested in the political machinations, then I was in the social ties between the characters, though. I couldn’t really parse who was related to who, but maybe that’s the point. For some reason, all the older women get called Auntie, something which  tickled me enormously, considering I’m an Auntie.  I’m not sure who this leader is to Koen, as I had the impression they were related, but at one point he gets one of the Hairy People to break off Koen’s finger, which is something family members ought not be doing to each other. Koen’s superpowers are evidenced by his glowing blue eye. That and the finger healing sequence, was kinda neat.

I’m not in love with the show yet, but it does look promising, and pretty. I can’t say it’s must-viewing, yet. It doesn’t have the addictive quality of Game of Thrones or True Blood, or the deep, gothic, tragedy of Penny Dreadful, or the zaniness of Wynonna Earp, or Preacher, but its got novelty, social commentary, and drama, (that’s occasionally heavy handed), which is fine since this is just a first episode. All of that may change once the Dreamtime monsters show up, though.

It’s interesting how shows twist and transform during the course of a season. You think it’s about one thing, but by the end of the season, you realize it had an entirely different agenda. Some shows are better at this than others. We’ll see how this one goes.