There’s a reason why this movie was restored to 4K and premiered in the Official Selection of the 2022 Cannes Film Festival. Brotherhood Of The Wolf is an incredibly stylish and alluring French fantasy movie loosely based on true events. It takes the story of the Beast of Gevaudan and takes it to the next level, a distinctly French level. It’s one of those movies I loved watching in my twenties as it had this adventurous atmosphere. I mean, not only this is a period movie but it’s also a creature feature, and, well, I don’t want to spoil anything for you. So, I’ll just leave it at that.
The first thing you’re going to notice about Brotherhood of the Wolf is its visual quality. The cinematography is simply gorgeous along with the set design and costumography. All of this takes you back to the French countryside in the 18th century and provides a healthy dose of escapism. I went through several stages of my love for this movie. What came first was this exciting sense of adventure and the hunt for this unusual beast. Of course, I have to be completely honest and admit that half-nude Monica Bellucci and stunningly beautiful Émilie Dequenne also had something to do with it.
As I got older, I started appreciating social commentary more and more. The relationships between the various characters and subplots that I found boring in the past. Finally, in the past few years, I was totally blown away by the characters and the sheer creativity and bizarreness of the plot. Oh no, dear viewer, you will not be watching an American adventure/action/horror movie but a French one. And this means that, for example, our hero will visit a brothel despite having a love interest.
It is the year of our Lord Satan 1764 and a strange beast is roaming the peaceful French countryside. It possesses extraordinary strength and sharp, huge teeth which it uses to tear its victims to shreds.
After several failed attempts by the locals to kill the beast, King Louis XV sends one of his best men Grégoire de Fronsac and his friend Mani to solve the problem. They will soon realize that this will be an incredibly dangerous task and one they might not even complete. And the death toll just keeps mounting and mounting…
The real creature that prowled this region in the late 1700s killed anywhere between 100 and 500 villagers and hunters. These are all real people and real attacks adding a much-needed sense of authenticity to this quite flashy movie. Brotherhood of the Wolf is refreshing and unpredictable, a rare quality in this subgenre. It’s also silly and over-the-top at times.
I mean, some scenes simply don’t make any sense and are simply flashy. However, the French can get away with almost anything and once you immerse yourself in the story and atmosphere, you’ll hardly notice them.This especially goes for the fights that are on a whole other level of ludicrousness. I’ll just tell you one thing, one of the main characters wields a whip-sword or urumi.
If you played the video game Soul Calibur you might recognize it as Ivy’s main weapon. With a running time of two and a half hours, Brotherhood of the Wolf is going to take up your whole evening. It’s like you’re watching several different movies all wrapped into one attractive package. We will get a bit of mystery, a bit of brawling, a bit of romance, and court intrigue.
All of this will be followed by poignant social commentary about the class struggle, religion, and corruption. Moreover, towards the end, the movie turns into an homage to Predator complete with an interesting take on the iconic Alan Silverstri soundtrack. The cast did a terrific job, especially Samuel Le Bihan and Mark Dacascos. I wonder why Mark never really broke through and became a huge star, he was certainly capable of it. Check him out in Drive or Crying Freeman, he was excellent in those movies.
Finally, if you’re looking for movies like Brotherhood of the Wolf, check out Vidocq, The 13th Warrior, and The Brothers Grimm. All of these are period movies but I can’t help mentioning a modern one, The Relic. Mostly because of the atmosphere and the design of the creature.
Director: Christophe Gans
Writers: Stéphane Cabel, Christophe Gans
Cast: Samuel Le Bihan, Mark Dacascos, Vincent Cassel, Émilie Dequenne, Monica Bellucci
Fun Facts: Mark Dacascos is part native Hawaiian and not Native American. He also learned how to ride a horse, studied Mohawk Indian culture, and became fluent in French.