iPad app Review: Return to Wolf Creek, by Ping! Enterprises Pty. Ltd.
Reviewed by Guy Dayen
Wolf Creek was a major horror film hit in the Australian market a few years ago. It tells the story of three friends who set out to explore Wolf Creek crater in the Australian outback. When their car breaks down, they encounter a man named Mick Taylor, who offers to help them out of their predicament.
Unfortunately for the trio, Mick Taylor is a homicidal maniac who makes Freddy Krueger look good by comparison. Our three friends are in for the fight of their lives (or death, as the case may be...) The torture scenes in this film are famously hard to stomach, even though the outback setting is nothing short of spectacular. This made for an uncomfortable viewing experience for most people who saw the film.
The Wolf Creek app contains the original trailer for the film, a few deleted scenes, a documentary on the making of the film, an interview with the Australian actor John Jarratt (who plays the maniac Taylor in the film) and storyboards for the movie. There are also wallpapers that can be downloaded to the iPad and an extensive film review that details the reasons for the popularity of the film in Australia.
I've been wondering, as I was exploring this app, who exactly would be the target consumer for this particular app. Obviously, it would play well in the Australian market, where many are familiar with the Wolf Creek movie. But outside Australia? You might target people who have seen the movie and really liked it; but my guess is that this would be a fairly small number of people. Anyone who hasn't seen the movie would have no reason to get this app for their iPad; there's just not enough stuff to hook them in. It's not a game, so there's no play value. It's not a book so you can't read the story, which would at least give you the full understanding of what the film is all about...(Besides, I don't think too many people would want to read about endless scenes of torture and depravity. I know I wouldn't want to!)
One big problem for me is that some of the content seems to have appeared on the DVD release of this film; and the people who are most likely to buy this app would most probably be the same people who would have bought the DVD! So would they be likely to spend another eight dollars for content that amounts to DVD extras or things that can be found on the Internet? And how many people want to download horrible scenes to be displayed as their splash screen or home screen? Might be hard to explain that kind of picture to most people glancing over at your iPad if you're anywhere in public.... Another issue is that the film was done seven years ago, so it may not be at the forefront of many people's radar.
This is not a bad app by any means. Fans of the film will most likely get a kick out of revisiting this movie. The content navigation interface is pretty cool: you use a virtual flashlight to explore a workbench in Mick Taylor's hideout. Each item you find, like a photo, a newspaper, a knife or a camera brings up some part of the multimedia content. The music is quite atmospheric. And there's even a drawer of screams, where users can submit their own scream to the Wolf Creek forum, in the hopes that it might be used by producers in the making of an actual movie or film.
This app could be a textbook example of a niche market app: it is very well done, but in my opinion, it has a very limited appeal outside the Australian market. It was interesting to find out about the film, but the app won't be on my iPad very long. I suspect that the eight dollar price tag will prevent it from finding many takers here in the States.