Wolf Creek 2 unleashed in US cinemas

Greg Mclean’s Wolf Creek 2 opened in 10 cinemas in the US last Friday, one month after being released on Video-on-Demand platforms.

Distributors such as Magnolia-on-Demand routinely release films in the Ultra-VoD window, figuring the upside is greater than a conventional cinema release followed by VoD and DVD.

Consumers pay a premium price of $US9.99 to watch a film on VoD before it’s released in cinemas. The VoD fee reverts to the regular $5 when the film opens theatrically. Producer Helen Leake is waiting to get the VoD buy-rates from Image Entertainment.

According to Rentrak, the Wolf Creek sequel took just $US1,822 in its first three days at 10 locations. However as Mclean has noted, the primary purpose of the theatrical exposure is to support the premium VoD and regular VoD release.

There was a mixed response from US critics to the serial killer saga starring John Jarratt, Ryan Corr, Shannon Ashlyn and Philippe Klaus.

“With Wolf Creek 2, the director Greg McLean returns once more to remind us that the back of beyond — in this case, the Australian outback — is a perilous destination for unwary tourists,” declared the New York Times’ Jennifer Catsoulis.

But she questioned the transformation of Jarratt’s mercurial psychopath Mick Taylor into a “roguish cartoon,” noting that “Mick has been reimagined as a chortling, xenophobic butcher who enjoys a singalong of Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport and dismembers his victims with the help of Patsy Cline’s I Fall to Pieces.”

The Los Angeles Times’ Martin Tsai was more positive, stating, “This time we get a better idea of what makes [Mick] tick, and in turn we get to plumb Mclean a bit more.”

The Boston Herald James Verniere found plenty to like, opining, “If you can stomach ultra screen violence and if you are a fan of the original 2005 Wolf Creek, you’ll want to see Wolf Creek 2.

“Once again, this borderline torture-porn effort is raised from the depths of depravity by a surprisingly winning demento performance by tall, rangy, silver-tongued Aussie actor John Jarratt. Crikey, this guy with muttonchops is scary. Crocodile Dundee would soil his dungarees.”

The Detroit News’ Tom Long described the film as “gory, disturbing, inventive, twisted and rather well made. Which is to say it’s pretty good, considering how deeply sick it is.”