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WOLF CREEK

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Plenty of domestic horror flicks set youth deep in the country, at the mercy of colorful locals with goofy accents and poor hygiene. Now, Greg McLean's low-budget shocker from Down Under hoots: "Dude, check out our scary middle-of-nowhere." Three campers set out for a three-week trip across the Australian outback (they're going to a party). After their banger breaks down, they're rescued by a cackling local, who, around the campfire, laments being laid off his job shooting kangaroos. Uh oh. The film's best aspect is its effective use of the outback, with its unimaginably vast empty spaces. Despite an overly long set-up, McLean builds real foreboding, which he then squanders by indulging in too much brutal, bloody misogyny. Memo to McLean: Watching a panicked tourist fumbling through keys to start up a getaway car is far more nail-biting than grimacing through another shrieking half-dressed woman getting carved up. Starts Sun., Dec. 25. (AH)

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