After training as a fine artist specializing in painting, McLean attended the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), completing a graduate diploma in directing." In his early career he worked with theatre director Neil Armfield, and with Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin at Opera Australia.
McLean's first short film, Plead, won a Gold award from the Australian Cinematographers Society (ACS). His short film ICQ screened at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival, winning "Best Director of a Short Film". Under his production company GMF (Greg McLean Film), McLean produced television commercials and similar work.
McLean's first full length film, in 2005, was the Australian independent horror film Wolf Creek. It achieved huge box-office success in Australia and overseas and began a cult following.
Mclean's next film Rogue, in 2007, was about a deadly salt-water crocodile attacking an international group of tourists in Australia's Northern Territory. He was one of the candidates to direct Paranormal Activity 2. McLean also produced the Justin Dix thriller Crawlspace.
In February 2013, McLean returned as writer, producer & director for Wolf Creek 2. John Jarrett reprised his role as serial killer Mick Taylor, and co-starred with Ryan Corr.
McLean's next directorial effort will be 6 Miranda Drive starring Kevin Bacon.
"Matthew Holmes is such a dynamic and complete filmmaker who's already assembled an incredible cast and crew to make his epic movie - The Legend of Ben Hall - so for me it's a thrilling project to be part of. Not only is it a fascinating true story of huge historical significance to our country, Matthew has crafted an exciting western / action movie from the tale to make appealing to audiences both here and around the world".