Serial killer Mick Taylor is back- and it seems he’s even scarier and more brutal.

Wolf Creek 2, the sequel to Greg Mclean’s 2005 hit horror movie, had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on Friday.

The first few reviews generally are pretty positive, paying tribute to Mclean’s direction and the performances of John Jarratt as Taylor and Ryan Corr as his principal victim. However all found fault with aspects of the film, which Roadshow will release in February.

The screenplay by Mclean and horror novelist Aaron Sterns follows Taylor as he encounters three backpackers, a Pom and two Germans, played by Corr, Shannon Ashlyn and Philippe Klaus, in the Outback.

“Though showing a smidgen of mercy to female members of the cast, possibly to counteract accusations of misogyny in No. 1, Wolf Creek 2 knows better than to deviate from the classic scenario of a mad serial killer of almost supernatural evil (all hail Leatherface) who has it in for foreign tourists in remote regions,” opined the Hollywood Reporter’s Deborah Young.

“McLean’s superb grasp of technique and his talent for inducing major fear in audiences should be a gift to gore and splatter fans.” Young said the film aims to be “as scary and violent as possible for worldwide sadism fans who want to leave the theatre with twisted guts of their own.”

She heaped praise on the “smart and wonderful Ryan Corr” and Toby Oliver’s atmospheric cinematography that makes the wide-open landscape a major player.

But she tempered her enthusiasm by observing the film “lacks the third dimension of great horror films, which would somehow tie its lesson about evil in to people’s lives. This film is straight out of the bottle with no metaphoric or psychological pretensions.”

Empire’s Damon Wise, who was not a fan of the original, described the sequel as “more spine-snapping fun with Mick Taylor, the Norman Bates of the billabong.”

Wise declared,  “This time round there are switch-and-bait surprises, some genuine attempts to portray the human cost of such vicious violence, plus a lot of exhilarating chases that could come straight from the 70s golden age of Ozploitation, when Brian Trenchard-Smith was king.”

However he felt Jarratt’s character is overexposed and he was unimpressed with some of the CGI sequences.

Variety's Guy Lodge observed, "Neither as striking nor as fundamentally scary as its predecessor, this pumped-up, robustly crafted pic is still quite a ride, and one that genre-inclined distribs should have no qualms about hitching."

The reviewers are tipping a third instalment, which, said Wise, may not be a bad thing as “this second outing came so very close to getting the balance right”.

Arclight pre-sold a bunch of terrotories and the producers are aiming to clinch a US deal after showing a finished print to potential buyers.

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