The Wolfman Review
2010 is NOT the year of good quality horror movies. Sure there are some movies out there, but it's just not a great year in horror film. I'm not going to say that there are NO horror movies, but let's just say there's not a long line up of films that have gotten me excited. Then again, no one cares.
Werewolf movies, what can be said? I've reviewed a lot of movies in my day, and some of my favorites are werewolf movies. Heck, HOWLING! COME ON HOWLING! One of my favorites. There's a lot of movies about this type of character, and it begs to question whether or not another one can be made, and well....it happened. Before I dive into this film, considering that Geraldine Chaplin is in this...Chaplin comes full circle, just saying.
The plot of The Wolfman is interesting at first, even if some call it formulaic. There is nothing new to the werewolf myth here, except the transferring of power if you survive a bite from the wolf. The film is not really a "township" vs the animal, and is really more about the wolf and his father. Yep. This film is a metaphor about sons and fathers, and if you missed that, you missed the grand majority of the plot. There are some great lines that explain that as well, and it's interesting. Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins work well together and I have to say that Hopkins out acts everyone in this film, without even trying. That's not to say that the acting is all that great, but man, Hopkins has a presence that is hard to forget.
I loved the costumes. I absolutely love 19th century Victorian costuming, and there are some great ones here. There are some absolutely beautiful dark dresses that are juxtaposed with pale white faces...sorry, I love pale skin and...uh...nevermind. So I loved the details, and characterizations of the clothing.
I also loved the photography and cinematography. There are some beautiful shots of the forest, and faraway shots of horse drawn carriages. There is such a beauty found in scenes of death here, with an old school hearse, glass and all, and there are some amazing lighting choices. I loved the ambiance.
There is gore. I saw the unrated version and boy do they have gore. There is CG blood effects, but there are a LOT of close up shots with latex and gore effects that are a throwback to the 1980's. The gore is not comedic, it's straight up, with severed arms, legs, and all sorts of other harsh moments that will leave some a bit sick. I liked it.
The transformation scenes are terrible, and I didn't like it. I also didn't like the obvious throwbacks and CG. It was terrible...I'm sorry. I'd rather get the slow moving Howling stuff back...sorry.
Oh and in case anyone was wondering, there are more bestiality references than Disney's Beauty and the Beast...ok, so it might not be like that, but there are some moments that make you scratch your head. I mean, do women really like "beasts"? No wonder I can't get laid...geeks/nerds that love horror just never get any love :(
Is The Wolfman a scary film?: No.
I loved the ambiance, and loved the costumes and scenery, but the story? Nope. this movie isn't scary at all. I just don't think anyone is scared by werewolf's anymore. Yes, early on in this blog, I gave a huge comparison of good vs evil for Silver Bullet, and tried to balance the current nature of religion and animal rage, but this film doesn't let me do that.
Yes, there are some great moments in The Wolfman, moreover, the film tries to create a "good guy" role for the Wolf rather than making it a complete villain. So you're rooting for the anti-hero, yet there are points when you're suppose to hate him, and it's hard to balance what to think and whether or not to be scared.
I absolutely loved certain aspects of this film. I thought there were some great shots, and amazing stills, but overall? This movie kind of bored me with some serious identity crisis moments, and dream sequences, that just led nowhere. The pay off isn't even there, and there is a great point at the end of the film where we can jump off to a sequel. In the annals of werewolf history, this film is NOT one of the top draws. Is it the worst? No. But it's far from the best.
Those that loved the original, and love werewolf films in general, will NOT love this film. I admit. There is some slow moving sequences, and there are some points that were boring. However, some might find this to be quite good, specifically those that catch the metaphors and underlining story about "fathers and sons" etc. As a man who is the son of a broken man, and in some ways a broken man, I find that appealing about the film. Will you? I dunno. Check out this film, but owning it might not necessarily be a positive thing.