Wolfman Review

So after over a year in limbo The Wolfman finally gets let loose. Was it worth the wait?
Well it all depends really.

You see I’m a big fan of the old Universal horror movies. I grew up watching them, have all the box sets and during the entire time I was watching this film I could see the love the creators also had for the hirsute adventures of Lon Chaney Junior.

All the boxes are ticked, the crazy gypsy woman, the son returning to his distant father in his mansion, the angry mob and of course lots of fog. Also the wolfman himself is a throwback to these films and is obviously strongly based on the original Jack Peirce makeup. This is no 7ft tall beast with a fully snouted wolf head as has become the norm in modern times, this is a guy in wolfman makeup complete with trousers still intact and the open to the waist white shirt. So while this appealed to my nostalgia buff and impressed me with its ability to sit with the originals, I could imagine modern audiences feeling a little underwhelmed after the monstrous beasts of Van Helsing and Dog Soldiers.

The story itself sees Benicio Del Toro, as Lawrence Talbot, return to his childhood home to investigate the disappearance of his brother. Once there the search quickly turns to a hunt for his brothers killer and before too long old Larry is attacked by the creature and starts to feel the moons pull. Throw in Anthony Hopkins as his eccentric father, Emily Blunt as his dead brothers fiancée (who manages to struggle through her grief enough to fall for Larry before his bro is even cold) and Hugo Weaving as the big city inspector sent to cut through the locals superstition and you have all the makings of a good old black and white horror movie. And again, this is kind of what you get but with some impressive werewolf transformations and some pretty cool blood and guts considering the movie is a 15 certificate. This isnt a movie that will really scare anyone used to modern horror movies though. Yeah, there are a few jumps, more than a few of which are a bit cheap, but as the wolfman is the star of the show, more often than not you are with him, not the oncoming victims, so lose the “where is it now?” suspense. That said, the initial attack where Lawrence gets his all important bite is a rocking bit of horror entertainment.

There is a twist to the original tale which is pretty heavily signposted and while making for a fun ending did feel a little hokey but not to the point where its offputting or annoying. Its more of a “Oh, ok… I can see how thats cool, I’ll run with it” thing.

Overall an enjoyable movie, if nothing too spectacular, which I look forward to getting on dvd in a few months and giving a try with the colour turned off.

Stars out of 5 – 3

Dry Slaps – 2. One for Mr Hopkins accent which goes through more transformations than the Wolfman himself. And two for not only putting their American Werewolf in London but also for ripping its double “Am I awake yet?” jump.

Reviewer : Richard McAuliffe

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  1. I just left feeling…nothing, really. I completely got the throwback fashion to the beast, and to the story as a whole. The problem is, the classic just doesn’t translate to modern times. It reminds me of Leatherheads, where the dialogue (and the rest of the movie) seemed to have been WRITTEN back in the days the movie took place – so it came across as weak.

    The Wolfman also suffered from really not establishing Del Toro’s character as someone you really care for – you don’t HATE him, but you don’t have a bond with the character either. And he gets infected so soon in the movie, you aren’t moved by his suffering. Instead you just wait to see who he shreds next (i.e. “Will Hugo get him first, or will he be killed?”).

    Probably the worst part for me were the desperate ways they get you to be scared: Things jumping out ALL the time. That was starting to make me angry. Listen, you can make me jump watching BAMBI if I’m not expecting a loud sound and something abrupt. That’s not effective to do the whole movie.

    But maybe that’s just me.

  2. Nah, like I said some of the jumps were cheap and if you’ve seen horror films before you can see them coming
    “Oh, its all gone quiet and the music has stopped.. then 3 – 2 – 1” “BANG!”

    I agree it felt like that they took an old script and filmed it with modern effects, but thats what I liked about it. Really feel I could put on my Lon Chaney Wolfman dvds and play this at the end without it feeling out of place, which for a film made 70 years later is pretty cool. Well, if you like old movies anyway

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