Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Wolfman

Let me start by saying I’m a sucker for so many aspects of this movie going in, that I’m not sure I should even be reviewing it. First, this movie stars some actors I really enjoy, like Benecio del Toro, Hugo Weaving, Anthony Hopkins, and Emily Blunt. Then note it’s a re-envisioning of a classic horror movie, aimed, I’m sure, at those weirdo’s out there like me who are both horror geeks and movie history geeks. Add the fact that it’s as much a gore flick as a thriller, with blood and guts galore and more than moon’s worth of severed appendages. Then you can toss in the fact that it’s oddly directed by Joe Johnston whose previous work is mostly in family classics like Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and The Rocketeer and you have me certainly interested (no matter what the reviews say).

The Wolfman tells the story of a mysterious American actor named Lawrence who is suddenly called back to his family estate in a small English town. He was sent away to live with his American aunt as a very small boy and has never returned. Now, he arrives because of news that his brother is missing. Soon after arriving he discovers his brother is not only dead but that his brother was horribly mauled. The townsfolk believe it was a bear that gypsies recently brought to town, but Lawrence suspects the answer might be hidden in his family’s dark secrets.

This leads him, nonetheless, to the gypsies with questions about curses. This turns out to be a terrible move as he realizes the killer is a werewolf and he knows this because he was bitten and now too is a werewolf. But Lawrence sees it for the curse it is and seeks to find out how to stop it. This movie is not great and at times quite a bit campy, but I still thought it was a lot of fun and was certainly engaging. They rely WAY too much on the haunted house trick of scaring you by jumping out at you or creating a sudden loud noise. That said, the production design is excellent, as the movie feels very in line with the gothic Victorian English motif of so many classic horror flicks. And while there wasn’t exactly much asked of the actors, I liked the performances of each of them. All in all, it’s not exactly a movie that’s going to change your life, but (hell, like Honey, I Shrunk the Kids) you’re probably going to enjoy watching it. See it if you’re looking for a good scare and a decent movie, though you may want to catch it at a matinee or second run theater.


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