Director Greg Mclean may never escape the shadow of Mick Taylor.
He’s the Aussie killing machine at the heart of Mclean’s “Wolf Creek” franchise, memorably played by John Jarratt. The first “Wolf Creek” (2005) delivered at the box office, but the grisly shocker also drew this withering comment from critic Roger Ebert.
There is a line and this movie crosses it. I don’t know where the line is, but it’s way north of “Wolf Creek.”
Can’t please everyone, right?
Mclean’s subsequent thriller got far less attention, and that’s a shame. His 2007 croc thriller “Rogue” delivered more conventional thrills with stars who got busier after the film wrapped.
Radha Mitchell (“Run Hide Fight,” “Silent Hill”) stars as Kate, an Australian guide steering a boat full of tourists down the river. Her guests, cameras in hand, want nothing more than some gorgeous scenery and, at worst, a sunburn flecked with bug bites.
Instead, they run head-first into an oversized crocodile delivered with a neat blend of practical effects and CGI.
Co-star Michael Vartan, best known for ABC’s “Alias,” plays an American journalist who teams with Kate to keep as many tourists alive as possible.
The rest of the cast serve up memorable turns, a bonus for any horror effort.
A pre-“Avatar” Sam Worthington has a small but pivotal role as Kate’s ex and a first-class jerk, while a young Mia Wasikowska gets an early screen credit as one of the youngest tourists.
47. Rogue (2007)
This Australian man-eating crocodile horror flick deserved better. Directed by Greg McLean of Wolf Creek fame, this manages to side-step many tropes and actually be scary. Then 16 year old Mia Wasikowska has an early role. pic.twitter.com/Z1pimjlnUv
— @markdful.bsky.social (@Markdful) January 22, 2019
Mclean says “Rogue” was the first screenplay he ever wrote, but it took years to get all the details just right for the production. He was offered the chance to direct “Wolf Creek 2” immediately after the first film’s success, but he chose to commit to his “dream project” instead.
Sadly, the film got a microscopic theatrical release stateside but went on to earn cult status years later.
Mclean later recalled the challenging shoot, which included brutal heat and some real-life crocs waiting for their closeup (and a possible snack).
“… the real crocs were everywhere. We had a couple of rangers with guns who were basically hired to protect people from getting killed. It adds an edge to the shooting when you’re looking over and there’s literally three or four crocs just staring at your boat waiting for someone to fall off.”
31 Days of Horror
Day 1: “Splinter“